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

Stephen D. Williams < sdw at lig.net > on > Mon Sep 11 06:07:25 PDT 2006


I guess the bush planes are even better:

50 ft. for takeoff and 120ft. for landing, 27kts. stall speed, 2200 fpm 


Stephen D. Williams wrote:
> "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, etc.).
> 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:
> http://www.mwsportaviation.com/Light-Sport-Aircraft-Plane-Information/Sky-Cruiser.html 
> 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:
> http://www.mwsportaviation.com/Newsflashes/Zephyr-Light-Sport-Aircraft-for-sale-27.html 
> 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.
> http://www.egreeley.com/messages/374.html
> 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.
> sdw
> 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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