About 60 or 70 years ago when people were asked to imagine, how the year 2020 would look?… People imagine futuristic cities, people having hoverboards, cars flying in the sky…!
Flying cars would have become reality, but unfortunately, it didn’t happen. Reality of today is traffic jams unlike what people thought about the world.
But a flying car is a thing which is slowly-slowly becoming a reality. Today in 2022, accompany in Slovakia successfully tested an actual flying car. This is not a dream for the future, it is reality now.
Let's understand this technology….
If you haven’t noticed lately, we are living in the future, but there is still one thing that is conspicuously absent. Where are the flying cars? I was promised flying cars…! I don’t see any flying cars. why? why? Would there ever be an aircraft where you can just jump in and be able to take off and fly wherever we want to…?
History of flying cars
Reading this, it feels like a flying car is something really futuristic, but people had started to make one about 100 years ago.
Auto plane flying car
In 1917, saw the first attempt at building a flying car or perhaps a roadable aeroplane, an aeroplane that can navigate roads too, it was named the AUTO PLANE. This was built by Glenn Curtis. It was given the title “limousine of the year”, but was the flying car actually able to fly? It is said that when they tried to fly, it lifted off the ground but unfortunately it wouldn’t fly properly. So, the autoplane attempt also didn’t succeed.
Aerobile flying car
After this, we get to 1933, when the US air commerce bureau conducted a competition called the Flivver competition, they challenged people to design an aeroplane that would cost less than 700 dollars to build. Many models were submitted in this competition and one of these models was the Aerobile designed by Walda Waterman. This was an aeroplane that looked like a car, it could take flight but never went into production because they were going through the great depression, there were not enough funds to produce it.
Airphibian flying car
After so much effort previously, there was something which could be called the first successful attempt which took place in 1945. American inventor Robert Edision Fulton built an aeroplane called the Airphibian. It looked like a proper aeroplane, the only difference was that the front of it could be detached, it took about 5 minutes to convert this aeroplane into a car and the resulting car looked like the front of the aeroplane. For its Era, this airplane was quite innovative, and it got a flight certification from the civil aviation authority, but the aeroplane was that because of the compromise in the design it was neither a good aeroplane that could compete with the other aeroplanes not was it a good car that could complete with the other cars, when it turns into a car it looks really weird. To add to it, in 1945, there were financial problems due to World War 2 and this company could not find investors for this flying car.
Convaircar flying car
And then came the Convaircar, industrial designer Henry Dreyfuss attempted this in 1947. This looks like a car stuck with an aeroplane on it. Airphibian looked like an aeroplane completely, but it looks as if the car got stuck to the aeroplane by mistake and is now flying with it. It too took 5 minutes to convert from an aeroplane to a car and by converting it meant detaching the aeroplane part and keeping it aside and then using the front part as a car. It was a great idea for its time and in its third test flight this Convaircar crashed, the pilot checked the reading on the car meter and thought there is enough fuel in the car but aeroplane part fuel was very less which lead to this unfortunate crash, after this crash people lost confidence on it and the investors backed out. The problems with these attempts was that they took a car and took an airplane, and they combined them as they were. A true flying car would be one that could actually transform from an aeroplane to a car; the two can’t simply be combined nearly to detach the part of the aeroplane when the car is used.
Morton Taylor was the first person to decide to work on the design of Airphibian and to make the wings of the aeroplane foldable so that when it has to be used as a car the wings could be folded and stored behind the car. This came true in the year 1949, it was named Taylor’s Aerocar. They got the certification and the approval for mass production, but the problem was that they needed at least 500 advance orders before mass production could begin. And there were not enough people interested in it, so they couldn’t even get the 500 orders, so the deal had to be called off. At this point the company Ford was quite close to buying this Taylor Aerocar but that deal couldn’t be finalized either. There was a scarcity of funds but perhaps a bigger problem was the lack of technological advancement, we didn’t have the technology to build a true flying car.
Flying cars of 21st century
In October 2021, a Swedish company called Jetson Aero presented their Jetson 1 airplane to the world. As you can see in the picture below it doesn’t look like a car at all, rather it can be called an extra-large drone because it flies like a drone. a person sits inside it and pilots it around. It is a single seater vehicle. only one person can sit inside it. they had started working on it in 2017.
The first prototype was ready in January 2018, and it had its first successful flight too, but they introduced their company and presented their second-generation prototype to the world in October 2021. Its speciality is its design. A helicopter requires a helipad for takeoff and landing, but Jetson 1 is too small that it can land on or takeoff from anyone’s roof or garden. to keep it light weight its frame is made of aluminium and it weighs only 86 kg. It is very light. And the person sitting on it can weigh up to 95 kg. perhaps the most interesting thing is that you wouldn’t need a pilot licence to fly it because according to the US laws there is no need of a pilot licence for a home build single seater aircraft, since it is a single seater aircraft only one person can sit in it and its home-built aircraft too, because if you buy it, it will reach you 50% assembled.
You can order it from anywhere in the world the way that the company ships this to you, you need to assemble it yourself, so it comes under the category of home build category. With this the legal hassles for the company are reduced. Because the company would no longer be responsible in case of any accident because you have put it together. Jetson 1 is truly very futuristic but it cannot be practically used much because you can’t fly it at night, you can’t fly it over city traffic because there are restricted air space, and generally it is quite difficult to fly a camera drone nowadays, so it will be very difficult to get permission to fly this, but the are co-founder, Peter Ternstorm, has said that they are not trying to solve a problem in the world they are simply promoting it as a fun activity. He states that it is fun to fly it. you can guess the origin of the name of the company Jetson, if you recall the Jetson used to be a cartoon a while ago and the futuristic aircraft used by the Jetsons family to travel looks somewhat like this, so they tried to copy that design and took inspiration from it. so, this Jetson 1 cannot be termed as a proper flying car because it cannot run on the road but there is another company in Slovakia, they presented their Aircar to the world in February 2022.
There is a company in Slovakia, which will represent their Aircar to the world in February 2022. It is a flying car in true essence, friends. It is very clear that to build such a technology we need skillful engineers and out of the world innovation.
● So what's special about Aircar?
It completed its first intercity flight in June 2021 from the international airport Nitra to the Bratislava airport. Both cities are in Slovakia and Slovakia is an eastern European country. In February 2022, the transport authority of Slovakia gave it clearance for takeoff; it received the certificate of airworthiness. the European aviation safety agency’s all testing safety standards are obeyed by the flying car. This is the first flying car to actually look like a flying car. They used a BMW car as a base and had wings attached to it.
The attempt 60-70 years ago was when they tried to stick a part of the aeroplane to a car. But this is the first attempt where the wings come out of the car. no special fuel is needed to fly it.
The petrol that you get at the petrol station is enough to fly this car because the 1.6 litres BMW engine is there. while flying this Aircar can reach a height of 8000 feet and it can fly at a speed of 190 km/hour and a maximum of two people can sit in the car, and to transfer from an aeroplane to a car it takes only 3 minutes. The way it transforms is the wings can be folded to the back and everything is automatic. there is no need to unscrew anything or to separate anything,it is all in one piece.
On the road this Aircar would look like as it can be seen in the picture, it almost looks like a normal car on the road but it is little overboard from the back which is not bad because some cars are longer at the back. one thing certain to fly this is you would need a pilot licence because it needs a proper runway to take off. The AirCar has completed more than 200 take-offs and landings, so there is no doubt that it is a successful flying car. If you want to buy it, how much would you need to pay…?
It is said that it will start from 500000 dollars ranging upto 1 million dollars depending upon the model you want to buy. And within 12 months it will become commercially available meaning you can buy it in the market then. the founder of the Jetson 1 stated that they see their aircraft as a fun activity, it supposed to be a fun activity but the company that has made the Aircar, the company name is KLEIN VISION, they believed that this air car will replace helicopters in the future because the internal combustion engine of a normal car is used in it which would mean that it’s very energy efficient.
Normally to fly helicopters and aeroplanes a bigger amount of fuel is used, they also require special fuel but as this Aircar can fly with a car engine, it can be assured that in the future it wouldn’t be that difficult or costly to use the electric mechanism to fly this Aircar. It means that a fully and truly electric Aircar would be possible, it would also be good for the environment and pocket of the people in comparison to helicopters and normal airplanes.
What are the uses of Flying Car?
● Advantages :-
The most important use of these flying cars is said to be for emergency services such as for ambulances, fire engines or for the police or one advantage would be that it would be easier to use than helicopters and there is no need to build separate infrastructure for them. Trains require railway tracks, metros require tunnels, cars require roads but for the flying cars we can use the infrastructure that always exists. Another major advantage of these is that they are very flexible, talking about Jetson 1 aircraft they can land and take off from anywhere. We will get end-to-end connectivity here and obviously the environmental impact can be reduced drastically, because normally cars take a long time to cover long distances but flying cars would be able to do it faster and they will consume less energy as well.
● Disadvantages :-
Perhaps they have more disadvantages than advantages, the first is that…
1. Do we really need flying cars?
Just compare it with the cars, nowadays cars have become very common in almost every city in every country. Everyone needs to take a driving licence to drive a car but despite that many people drive irresponsibly, there are accidents, so many people die in traffic accidents around the world. If people can’t drive properly on the road surface will they be able to learn to fly properly in air? it will be 10 times more difficult, it will have 10 times more scope of causing accidents and if an accident does occur in the air then it would be that much more deadly. This is a very serious issue. How many people would need to get sufficient pilot training to fly these cars?… Automatic flying cars in the air like Tesla on roads can be only the solution to this issue. That the flying cars fly automatically without interference from the pilot. Like the automated cars nowadays. So if such self-driving flying cars are made only then can this problem be avoided.
2. Elon Musk believes flying cars to be a bad idea?
Because according to him when there will be thousands of cars flying in the sky somewhere or other there will be an accident and if one of those falls on someone on ground then that person will die instantly. The risk of people dying in these accidents is quite high. and normally when your car breaks down you park it at a side of the road to check it, but if your car breaks down in the sky, where would you park it?
These problems would increase in bad weather. Imagine that you are flying your car and it is very windy, there is a thunderstorm, suppose there is a lot of turbulence. Normally since the aeroplanes are much larger, they can bear it but in smaller jets, there is an increased threat of turbulence and bad weather. and since the flying cars wouldn’t be very big, they will face the same threats. After this there is also the problem of safety. It is quite possible that new infrastructure is not needed for some flying cars, but if thousands of cars will fly in the sky, then for sure a new system of traffic lights will need to be put up, such as we see for cars. Since the car will be flying in all directions there is a dire need of traffic lights. New technical standards need to be made so that the flying cars can communicate with each other so that there are no collisions and classes. but it wouldn’t be easy to do this because today it is so difficult for government to make regulations for drones, that the governments take to banning drones, and these drones mainly fly to take aerial photos and videos and do so for the flying cars how difficult it would be from the government’s perspective you can already imagine it.
3. Then comes the problem of noise pollution
If you have ever flown a smaller drone also you would have noticed the loud sound while flying it or if you have gone closer to the helicopter it is on the next level that’s why you need to put on headphones in the helicopter. These same problems exist for flying cars. These problems exist in Jetson 1 and Aircar too, it creates a lot of noise. It is so noisy that it isn’t practical to use it in the urban environment. Now to deal with this a new technology innovation is needed, so that the noise level of the flying cars can be reduced to a bearable extent. Apart from noise another area which needs some innovation is the fast-charging technology, nowadays the drones we fly can only fly upto 20 minutes or less than that, how long would the flying cars fly in the air?
With the recent machinery, it can fly till 50 km only, after that they will surely need to be charged or refuelled, and it generally kills a lot of time. These are the practical problems which are required to be solved or to find a successful loop for this technology to be successful. If we succeed to solve all the issues, then also there will be an issue of cost. After so many innovations the final price of the flying car would be at the level where people would actually want to buy it? Will it be pocket friendly for people to buy it?…
Now the air car costs around 1 million dollars. The cost should be affordable and pocket friendly,if this doesn’t happen then it would be very difficult for it to be truly successful. it is valid for any new technology, if the competing technology is offered at much better cost, the competing technologies would be the ones to be successful in the future. If traveling by cars, trains and aeroplanes is at much lower price in comparison to flying cars, then the flying cars would never be successful.
what is your opinion comment below…!
1 thought on “The First Flying Car Came To Reality”