Los Angeles High School of the Arts

Flying cars– what if we saw them in reality?

Flying cars, we’ve seen them in books, in movies, on television, and in our imaginations. But what if we saw them in reality? The flying car has been a dream of many because of the ability to travel faster, and the fun of just owning one. That being declared should the technology of enabling our automobiles to hover around the sky, be welcomed to society, or should the idea not proceed and remain fantasy?

The first time I was introduced to flying cars I was watching the iconic sci-fi film “Back to the Future.” The movie blew my mind leading to questions, curiosity, and where I can get one. But that was years ago when I was younger. When I re-watched the movie, I already knew that the ability of making cars fly was just a movie magic, but my awareness of today’s technology made me think, “Flying cars can be possible, just need the proper tools”. With the thought in my head, I asked my friends of what it would be like to have our automobiles hover around the sky; all responses were the same; “It would be cool, but is really needed?” Means to say, how would flying cars would impact the world.

When cars were first introduced to the world, it brought luxury, improvement of transportation, and freedom. Henry Ford’s assembly line of the Model T had a huge impact, revolutionizing automobile manufacturing. It motivated the car industry to innovate the idea of the assembly line since it minimized the amount of time to make cars. And for the buyers, well, what do you expect, they bought a Model T of their own and drove with thrill and excitement.

Besides being able to accelerate off the ground and into the clouds, how would flying cars be manufactured? Will it have the same impact as Ford’s assembly line or make a bigger mark in history? And does the world really need it?

The thought of having flying cars have been popular long before, in the early 1900’s. It began in 1917 with Glenn Curtiss who made something similar to a flying car called the Autoplane. It had three 40-feet wings with a four-bladed propeller at its rear. Sadly, even with its features of flight, the Autoplane only made a few hops.

Next was the 1937 Wildo Waterman’s hybrid Studebaker Aircraft, the Arrowbile. This rear propellered, three-wheeled car had 100-horse power. But the lack of money declined the project to proceed. Another one was in 1946, Robert Fulton’s, Airphibian. This six-cylinder engined, 150-horse powered vehicle also had the same features as the Aeromobil; drive on ground and fly in the sky. But just as Waterman’s flying car, Fulton’s didn’t proceed because the lack of funding.

After that year there was the ConvAirCar. Gave an hour of flight, and could’ve been more when it crashed three times. And then there’s the Aerocar by Moulton “Molt” Taylor, referred to be the most well-known flying car. It had a 10-foot drive shaft that connected the engine to push the propeller, flied 120 mph and was near marketing. But because of the oil crisis, the project was cancelled, right before it being marketed.

Make no mistake, the flying cars have been made and it will soon join future technology. The Aeromobil 3.0 is a recently made, flying car. The company has been in production since 1989. They’ve made four versions of the Aeromobil, three being prototypes, and the 4th, which is the 3.0, has been tested and will be ready to go in 2017. The car itself is looks like what you would see on an airplane; wings and wheels. It can be both on ground and air. According to Aeromobil company owner, the main consumer that they’ll focus selling the car to are “wealthy supercar buyers,” implying that the car will be very expensive, obviously.

The Aeromobil 3.0’s top speed when on ground is 99 mph but when on flight mode, its 124 mph. Other features are a steel framework, carbon coating, and a Rotax 912– an aircraft engine.

Attempts of making and marketing the flying car have failed, and maybe the Aeromobil will have the same outcome. What if it’s just meant to be? Think about it, some people would just invent their ideas not for the need of it, but for the fun, which is not a bad thing. For example: the pillow pet doesn’t do that much good for the world but people still made it for kids and leisure. The flying car isn’t a terrible thing to have in this world, as a matter of fact it’s pretty cool.

Another example could be smartphones; we have phones to contact people who are out of our reach, then Steve Jobs added other features making it “cooler and fun,” such as games, apps, and camera etc. But we never really needed them.

Everyone needs leisure and something to occupy boredom; new ideas are what we need because it ignites the people’s mind to challenge themselves in creating new inventions that will just be useful but entertaining for them, and when something new isn’t made every generation, life becomes simple and the same. Flying cars are a brilliant idea, and in my opinion they’ll be needed in the future when cars get old.

 

1 Comment

  • Reply Dion December 20, 2016 at 3:59 am

    I believe flying cars are inevitable. They may not be what we imagined, but they will come. There will always be naysayers, also.

    I break ‘flying cars’ down into two distinct categories.

    The first category will be small (probably electric) VTOL one or two seat versions that will be used for relatively short hops and mainly for the daily commute.Like the ones proposed by Lilium Aviation, Airbus’s A3 division’s Vahana, E-volo, Joby Aviation, etc.

    The second will be the roadable aircraft proposed by Terrafugia and Aeromobile. They will be used on longer trips and the ability to drive will make the vehicle very convenient for travelers. Not only will the ability to drive be convenient at your destination, but it will also make traveling safer. Imagine you are flying along and notice a great big thunderstorm approaching. Now you can land at the nearest airport and drive through the storm. Once through you can take off again and fly for the rest of your journey.

    I used to live in a Metropolitan area where even a short commute could mean hours of frustration. I have found myself wishing many times that I could just push a button and zip over it all. In those cases the short hop VTOL aircraft would be great.

    Now I live in a town where driving around and commuting is not a problem, but when I need to go and visit customers my options are either a 300 mile drive or a very expensive plane ticket. If I take the plane ticket I also have to hire a car at my destination to get me to where I want to be. In a lot of cases I need to see customers on an emergency basis and finding a flight is out of the question, so a 300 mile drive through the night is what I need to do. If I had a roadable aircraft, I could drive to the local airport. Fly down to the city, land at the airport closest to the customer I need to visit, or visit first, and fly back once I’m done. If I leave very early in the morning I can be back home for dinner, where this is not possible with my current options.

    The best thing about these vehicles are that you probably never have to own one. The short hop flights can be done by a Uber-type platform(and Uber did release a 99 page white paper about this) and the roadable aircraft can either be owned by companies themselves or by charter operators.

    For the naysayers I would like to ad that I don’t see land-based transport disappearing with these vehicles. Some will still drive, some will take a train, a bus, a hyperloop, but some will fly. Those who can afford and those who are not afraid to take the highway in the sky will do so, leaving the land-based travelers with a little less traffic and a little less frustration.

    Like

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