[FoRK] Where the F&@# is my flying car?

Stephen D. Williams < sdw at lig.net > on > Mon Sep 11 05:23:02 PDT 2006

"Those saying something is impossible are often interrupted by someone 
doing it."

There are two levels of "possible": scientifically/engineering possible 
and commercially viability.  There are many things that are 
scientifically possible that are not yet commercially viable.  The 
reason that everyone keeps predicting the flying car is because it has 
been perfectly scientifically possible and engineerable for a long 
time.  They have been built, tested, and actually put on the market.  
They just aren't commercially viable compared to normal planes and other 
forms of transportation.

For example, the Internet as a widespread communication environment was 
a possibility for at least a decade and probably two before it came 
about.  The delay can be traced in part to decisions at AT&T 
(channelized vs. packet-based, per minute charging, innovator's dilemma, 

Additionally, it is well-known that asking those in a field what 
innovations will happen and when is notoriously conservative, except 
when it is hopelessly optimistic.  Interesting to hear, but will likely 
be blown away by upstart kids who don't know any better.

BTW, Look into "Light Sport Aircraft" and an FAA "Sport Pilot License".  
You can get the latter in a week and the former for something like the 
cost of a sports car, some with over 700 mile range.  This is a huge 
revolution potentially on both sides (although the Sport license has 
many practical limits; you really want a Private Pilot with Instrument 
Rating).  There are suddenly many manufacturers of Light Sport Aircraft 
innovating on cost, performance, and avionics.  Several Czech companies 
seem to be very popular right now.  It is entirely possible that a 
"flying car" might now evolve from one of these, although it is likely 
that the multi-engine barrier would need to be crossed which would 
necessitate something like "simplified multi-engine light sport aircraft".

Assuming you have a 600+ft. driveway, you could use one of these:
This aircraft is "luxury in the air" and a "go somewhere" machine, with 
a range of over 700 miles with ample reserves, it should be a great 
touring machine.  It cruises fast and lands slow.  The aircraft is 
manufactured with carbon fiber and 3d paraglass structures. It uses a 
high performance tapered wing with a ribblet GA 40A-415 laminar flow 
airfoil  . The aircraft will use the Rotax 912 engines with either 80 hp 
or 100 hp.

The Sky Cruiser is made of Carbon and 3d  parabeam and the Wings are 
designed to be removable by 2 people in 20 minutes so the aircraft may 
be trailered home for storage.

Similar, for $77K:

The sweet spots for me are the cheap, economical, modern (they have 
relaxed avionics requirements which means they have newer, cheaper 
equipment), and easy Sport Light Aircraft and, on the other side, 
something like a turbocharged Cirrus 22R.  The former you could afford 
personally, the latter you would buy into a partnership or just rent.  
The former is for single or double transportation while the latter is 
for up to 4 people and much faster serious travel.  The former is like a 
motorcycle while the latter is something like a luxury sports car.

Submitted by High Flight 2001 on 08:54:33 07/21/01:

High Flight
By John Gillespie Magee

Oh, I have slipped the surly bonds of earth,
And danced the skies on laughter silvered wings;
Sunward I've climbed and joined the tumbling mirth
Of sun-split cloud and done a hundred things
You have not dreamed of --
Wheeled and soared and swung
High in the sunlit silence.
Hov'ring there
I've chased the shouting wind along and flung
My eager craft through footless halls of air.
Up, up the long delirious, burning blue
I've topped the wind-swept heights with easy grace,
Where never lark, or even eagle flew;
And, while with silent, lifting mind I've trod
The high untrespassed sanctity of space,
Put out my hand, and touched the face of God.


FAA SUPPLEMENT to "High Flight"

Pilots must insure that all surly bonds have been slipped entirely 
before aircraft taxi or flight is attempted. During periods of severe 
sky dancing, crew and passengers must keep seatbelts fastened. Crew 
should wear shoulder harnesses as provided. Sunward climbs must not 
exceed the maximum permitted aircraft ceiling.

Passenger aircraft are prohibited from joining the tumbling mirth. 
Pilots flying through sun-split clouds under VFR conditions must comply 
with all applicable minimum clearances. Do not perform these hundred 
things in front of Federal AviationAdministration inspectors. Wheeling, 
soaring, and swinging will not be attempted except in aircraft rated for 
such activities and within utility class weight limits.

Be advised that sunlit silence will occur only when a major engine 
malfunction has occurred. "Hov'ring there" will constitute a highly 
reliable signal that an in-flight emergency is imminent. Forecasts of 
shouting winds are available from the local FSS. Encounters with 
unexpected shouting winds should be reported by pilots. Pilots flinging 
eager craft through footless halls of air are remindedthat they alone 
are responsible for maintaining separation from other eager craft.

Should any crewmember or passenger experience delirium while in the 
burning blue, submit an irregularity report upon flight termination. 
Windswept heights will be topped by a minimum of 1,000 feet to maintain 
VFR minimum separations. Aircraft engine ingestion of, or impact with, 
larks or eagles should be reported to the FAA and the appropriate 
aircraft maintenance facility. Aircraft operating in the high 
untresspassed sanctity of space must remain in IFR flight regardless of 
meteorological conditions and visibility.

Pilots and passengers are reminded that opening doors or windows in 
order to touch the face of God may result in loss of cabin pressure.


Jeff Bone wrote:
> Futurists get real:
>     http://tinyurl.com/lpd8o    OR
>     http://www.spectrum.ieee.org/print/4435
> From the introduction:
> Bursting tech bubbles before they balloon
> By: Marina Gorbis and David Pescovitz
> IEEE Fellows Survey
> As our population ages and needs more care, there will be fewer young 
> people to provide it. But don’t expect to fill the personnel gap with 
> humanoid robotic nurses, say a majority of the more than 700 IEEE 
> Fellows surveyed in a joint study by the Institute for the Future 
> (IFTF) and IEEE Spectrum.
> The survey was conducted earlier this year to learn what developments 
> IEEE Fellows expect in science and technology in the next 10 to 50 
> years. They ought to foresee such things better than most, because 
> they have so much to do with bringing them about.
> What other bubbles did the Fellows burst? Forget about being 
> chauffeured to work by your car; the Fellows doubt that autonomous, 
> self-driving cars will be in full commercial production anytime soon. 
> And though they say Moore’s Law will someday finally yield to the laws 
> of physics, slowing the increase in computer performance, the IEEE 
> Fellows don’t expect to get around the problem by using quantum 
> weirdness to perform calculations at fabulous speeds. Seventy-eight 
> percent of respondents doubt that a commercial quantum computer will 
> reach the market in the next 50 years. In short, the future is taking 
> longer than expected to arrive.
> “We tend to overestimate the impact of a technology in the short run 
> and underestimate it in the long run,” observed former IFTF president 
> Roy Amara years ago. The IEEE Fellows seemed to agree. On the whole, 
> the Fellows turned out to be a down-to-earth bunch—no space elevators 
> in most of their forecasts—and they were quick to dispel future hype 
> while eager to ground their forecasts in state-of-the-art engineering.
> A few were uncomfortable making forecasts, arguing that science and 
> technology are unpredictable. At IFTF, we wholeheartedly agree. Trying 
> to predict specific events and timing is best left to astrologers. 
> Instead, our researchers in Palo Alto, Calif., look for 
> signals—events, developments, projects, investments, and expert 
> opinions, like those provided by this survey—that, taken together, 
> give indications of key trends. Observed as a complex ecology, these 
> signals reveal where these developments may be taking us.
> The survey identified five themes that we believe are the main 
> arteries of science and technology over the next 50 years: 
> “Computation and Bandwidth to Burn” involves the shift of computing 
> power and network connectivity from scarcity to utter abundance; 
> “Sensory Transformation” hints at what happens when, as Neil 
> Gershenfeld, director of MIT’s Center for Bits and Atoms, puts it, 
> “things start to think”; “Lightweight Infrastructure” is precisely the 
> opposite of the railways, fiber-optic networks, centralized power 
> distribution, and other massively expensive and complicated projects 
> of the 20th century; “Small World” is what happens when nanotechnology 
> starts to get real and is integrated with microelectromechanical 
> systems (MEMS) and biosystems; and finally, “Extending Biology” is 
> what results when a broad array of technologies, from genetic 
> engineering to bioinformatics, are applied to create new life forms 
> and reshape existing ones.
> -- 
> jb
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