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Wednesday, May 08, 2013

Terrafugia's "Flying Cars"

Terrafugia, a company made up of MIT grads, has developed a "flying car", which is really an airplane that can be driven on roads to get from the garage to the airport. 

It can only legally exist as an airplane and as a car due to a pile of regulatory exceptions, everything from weight (to still be classed as a LIght Sport Aircraft by FAA) to airbag and ESC exceptions by DOT.

So it is basically a small 2 seat airplane with steerable, non retracing landing gear and folding wings.

Don't get me wrong, this is an amazing engineering feat.  But this thing is like a flying Aptera--a neat design study, but not a commercial proposition.

To "drive" one of these, you have to have a pilots license.

To drive one on public roads, you also have to be very carefree. Even a small fender bender could prove to have very dangerous side effects.   And insurance--I can't even imagine what insurance would cost.

The dream of flying cars--soaring above the gridlock--has been with us for many decades.  However, the practical reality is so complex, I just don't see them being affordable or practical for the average person even in the distant future.

I think the very wealthy would be better served buying personal helicopters, and the rest of us, we'll just telecommute.

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