7 Cars That Fly
With the media buzz surrounding the recent developments of the Terrafugia Transition, flying cars of the future are closer than ever before. Who wouldn’t want to skip every traffic light, stop sign, pothole, construction detour, and speed trap on your way to work in the morning? Growing up in Minnesota, I can think of many times when flying to work in the morning, instead of driving through the snow, would have made my life significantly less stressful. Not to mention how much easier my parents would have had it, could the moving trucks hover from place to place.
With all of that in mind, I took off across the Internet and found 7 cars that fly. This list is everything from designs still destined for production to actual working cars that can one day soon have you hovering over bumper to bumper traffic. When it comes to the future of the family automobile, hopefully where we’re going we don’t need roads.
The Honda Fuz-O
Let’s start with one that is at this time is just a design and a concept. Don’t discount this particular vehicle simply because it hasn’t entered production yet. The design of the Honda Fuz-O is quite realistic compared with other flying cars currently in production. The design revolves around 4 turbines that set the car in motion and also calls for the vehicle to be made from carbon fiber, thus making it super lightweight and requiring minimal power. The Fuz-O concept includes seating for three, while most other flying cars in design and production seat two people at most. I think the main appeal of this particular design is that the resulting vehicle is more of a hover car than a flying car. Imagine if you never had to shovel the driveway again, that could be a reality with a hover car design like the Fuz-O.
The Terrafugia Transition
Now let’s look at a flying car that may be on the road much sooner than you think. The Terrafugia Transition flying car was unveiled in 2012 and already has 100 pre-orders at $279,000 a piece. This “roadable airplane” can drive up to 70mph on the road with normal traffic and it’s folded dimensions are designed to fit inside the average size home garage. This model has a much more traditional airplane design to it. Since you will probably have to get a pilots license to operate a flying car of this sort, it is no surprise to me that there are only 100 orders so far. Although Terrafugia expects 2013 to be a great year for the Transition, they are still holding off on the actual street date for the time being.
The ParaJet SkyCar
The SkyCar is essentially a souped up dune buggy that acts as a massive paragliding machine, having a parafoil and parawing attached so that it will sustain flight level. It can take off in less than 500 feet and reach heights of over 2000 ft. Although this car is street legal, perhaps it’s best use is for having fun offroad. When I was growing up, my parents lived on a very large plot of land outside the city. My father got more and more into off road vehicles and hobbies over the years. He even went to far as to build a full off road course out behind the house. Since I had no brothers or sisters, I often rode with him. I wish we had one of these back then.
Yee Flying Car : SCUT students design the future.
While this one remains purely in a conceptual state, the YEE flying car is absolutely worth mentioning. I think with every new design the entire idea gets closer to reality. This car, which came from the minds of three South China University of Technology students, is an award winning design with a definite future in the vehicle marketplace. The wings fold in while driving on the road and are equipped with small wheels along their edges, keeping the wings smooth to the road and off the pavement. The designers envision the car “taking off” with business professionals who are forced by income restraints to live outside of town and need a quick way downtown. However, no retail price has been released for this vehicle, so that demographic may not be accurate.
Now here’s a car that’s straight out of a modern science fiction movie. The Hammerhead can take off and land vertically, unlike the Transition, and is described as being fast, safe, lightweight, and user friendly. The two forward fans on the vehicle can tilt for both thrust and lift. It also seats one person, which puts it in line behind several of the cars mentioned on this list. I think the first truly marketable flying car will need two seats to achieve commercial success. Although The Hammerhead may not be able to fit in your garage and is a few steps behind the other flying cars in production, it’s still a flying car and an incredibly cool looking one at that. My uncle has always been an X-Files fan and tried for years to convince me that aliens and flying saucers are real. I would absolutely love to one day land a Hammerhead in his backyard and see what happens.
The Moller M400 Skycar
Moller International has stepped into the flying car ring in a big way with their Skycar 400. This sports car looking “flying car” is capable of air speeds over 350mph and runs on ethanol. I also find this design particularly intriguing, as I’ve worked on many muscle cars in the past. This is one of the few flying cars that has a real street car look to it, and I think that will help push it towards commercial success. Moller takes a very pro active feel to their campaign, saying “No matter how you look at it the automobile is only an interim step in our evolutionary path to independence from gravity.” That is a very bold and confident statement coming from a company developing a flying automobile. I like companies that exude confidence and I am anxious to see where this particular project goes.
The Aerofex Hover Bike
Who says it has to be a flying “car”? Although motorcycles that fly might be a bit further off commercially than flying cars, hover bikes have taken a giant leap toward reality in the last couple years. Test flights for the Aerofex Hover Bike have not yet exceeded 30mph, which is still pretty good for a bike that requires no pedaling. Two large fans beneath the bike keep the rider up to 15ft off the ground. Not only does this particular vehicle cost less than any estimated flying car, it satisfies one of the greatest dreams of every single Star Wars fan out there. This looks like the closest you’re going to get to feeling like you’re zooming through the forests of Endor.
Links to blogs about Cars That Fly
Ubergizno.com Blog : Honda Fuz-O
The Car Enthusiast Online : Hibda Fuz-O
Wheels Blog NY Times : Terrafugia Transition
Redorbit.com Blog : Hammerhead
Caranddriver.com Blog : Moller Skycar
Blog.Makezine.Com : Aerofex Hoverbike
By Jeanne Longhorne
Jeanne L. Twitter
Jeanne L. Facebook
Jeanne L. Google+