posted on May, 2 2013 @ 06:47 AM
First of all, I love the idea of a flying car. The idea that you could get up in the air, and be free of solid, ground planted obstacles, other
motorists (which account for a significant percentage of the reason I do not drive) and pedestrians stumbling drunkenly into the road is very
appealing. Such a contraption would save transit time for commuter purposes, and lets face it, taking your date out in a ride with turbo fans and VTOL
is bound to be more impressive than pulling perfect handbrake turns around a roundabout (TopGear reference there people). I mean honestly, thats 007
territory. You would be forever looking in your side mirrors trying to spot Daniel Craig following you, with the intention of pimp slapping you out of
your ride over a copyright issue.
But there are some significant problems with the idea also. For a start, in a nation like Britain, we have limited airspace. That may sound idiotic,
but we do have some of the busiest airports in Europe operating on this tiny island. Also, we have air ambulances, police choppers, and various
military airbases, over and around which, training missions are flown. Also, if this idea were to catch on to the same degree as cars have over the
years, it would be virtually impossible to police the use of these things effectively and within a sensible budget.
Then you have the cost of fuel, leave alone the vehicle itself. The fuel required to run a vehicle which is designed to fly, will always be greater
than the cost of fuel for a ground car. The simple reason for this, is that even the most sophisticated aircraft use the bulk of thier fuel when
taking off, and controlling thier landing. Simply getting of the ground is pricey in terms of fuel costs, whereas setting off in a car is no where
near as difficult or fuel heavy.
Also, one of the designs currently in development requires Ethanol fuel. But ethanol is actually less energy dense than standard petrol, and causes
corrosion to parts which are not specifically designed to be used with that fuel. So why would anyone want to use it? Because it is less energy dense,
one has to carry more of it to get the same amount of work done, and because it can be corrosive, one is limited in terms of the materials that can be
used to contain, pump and burn it. Seems hinky to me.
Also, car insurance here in the UK is bloody astronomical. It is insane. Between genuinely poor drivers, and scammers trying to make a fast and easy
score from the insurance companies, it is often the case that a years insurance will cost more than the bloody car does, certainly if you buy second
hand, and its your first car (which accounts for the remainder of the reason why I have not, and may never, learn to drive). Therefore, since there is
no way in the world, that one of these flying cars would be cheaper than your typical ground based runabout, the insurance would be crippling. I mean
the damn things FLY for crying out loud! If there was ever a contraption which would require a very careful risk assessment before being cleared for
use, its something which contains fuel, produces thrust, and could fall on someones head if incorrectly used, poorly maintained, or through an "act
And one more thing now I think about it. A flying car should be as sleek and road huggingly brutal as the gnarliest rubber hoofed road monster that
ever screamed around a bend , and as elegant as any aerobatic, dive bombing barnstormer ever to pierce a cloud. Unless the result of all this
tinkering is going to be a car which drives like a Buggati Veyron, and flies like an SR-71 blackbird, I really cannot see them making a go of it.