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

Malcolm Greenshields < greenshields at uleth.ca > on > Mon Sep 11 06:45:19 PDT 2006

Eugen Leitl wrote:

>On Mon, Sep 11, 2006 at 08:23:02AM -0400, Stephen D. Williams wrote:
>
>  
>
>>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 
>>    
>>
>
>Stabilizing a personal VTOL aircraft in a cluttered urban
>environment is a control nightmare. Letting people fly is just
>not an option. Building such an advanced controller in a cheap
>enough package reliable enough to be insured is the reason
>personal aircraft hasn't been happening yet.
>
>Otoh, UAV environment is principally simpler than a car's, so
>we will see progress there earlier.
>
>  
>
>>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.
>>    
>>
>
>What's also a problem is fuel use and range. VTOL takes far larger
>amount of fuel than gliding by aerofoil. Increasing range will require
>heavier aircraft, which will need even more fuel. Of course, 500-600 km
>range might be enough...
> 
>  
>
>>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".
>>    
>>
>
>Two words: takeoff strip. That completely nixes the idea. For 98% 
>of all users, you absolutely, positively need a VTOL. And can you
>imagine how compatible flock-guidance and collision radar (TOF UWB) 
>is with conventional human-guided aircraft? With suddenly obsolete 
>concepts like traffic corridors?
>
>I don't like surveillance UAVs one bit, but it's good that they're
>testing the waters of human/machine airspace interoperability. 
>And they're light enough to not produce major mayhem when crashing.
> 
>  
>
>------------------------------------------------------------------------
>
>_______________________________________________
>FoRK mailing list
>http://xent.com/mailman/listinfo/fork
>  
>
What happened? In elementary school the 50's, we were all promised 
flying cars in the *FUTURE*, along with completely robotic kitchens 
(when we didn't want to eat meals available in a single pill), and we 
were going to have so much leisure that we would all be swanning about, 
thinking of and doing "higher things."
Malcolm

More information about the FoRK mailing list