The Fliest Flying Car
I have been keeping my eye on the flying car race of tomorrow ever since I learned (ten years ago) about the Moller M400 Sky Car. Growing up watching the Jetson’s I wondered if this would ever be a reality in my lifetime. Not only is the flying car a reality but there are now many options to choose from — if you can afford one. These flying cars have caused the FAA to reimagine traffic patterns in the air and recently (February 2013) approved the Terrafugia Transition as a Light Sport Aircraft.
It comes with a price tag of $194,000 including a $10,000 deposit so we can expect P. Diddy to own one soon — if he has time to register 20 hours flight time to qualify for the license to fly. Because of the lack of affordability we will not see one of these in the driveway of every home in America. Although in the long run it would save on rising gas prices because it gets 30 mpg on the highway. It has a range of 500 miles and of course you can only take off from the airport.
I actually would prefer the sleeker design of the flying car which also transitions to helicopter mode. It looks more like a car and it is just plain cool. There is a more expensive model that looks more like a plane with a price tag of $279,000. I think the Moller Sky Car has missed the mark by staying married to the 4 fans for vertical lift. The Transition rethought the engineering of the fiberglass body and it is a winner. At this point it should be easy to prototype a flying car after so many flying car toys for kids these days.
There are other cost to consider as well such as insurance, maintenance, and retraining but overall this could turn into big business over the next 50 years. As it is right now these will be toys for the upper class and the dreams of the middle class. Civic organizations such as ambulatory, forest rangers, and the police should have at least one of these flying cars in their arsenals. It is exciting to see the flying car progressively mature during my lifetime.
In summary although Moller has dedicated 40 years of his life to the flying car and it is superior in speed including distance however it is not sleek. More rotary engines means more maintenance and more money. He had a 40 year jump on the competition but now there are new prototypes and the Transition will be the clear winner. Even the rich will not pay $500,000 for a M400 when they could get the Transition at almost half the price. Who does not love a deal?