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Flying Cars Hop Slightly Closer With FAA Weight Waiver 123

Posted by timothy
from the I-just-stick-to-low-altitude dept.
JimFive writes "For years we've been waiting for the flying car to arrive. The FAA has made an exemption that moves this one step closer to reality. Terrafugia has been granted a weight limit exemption for a 'Roadable Airplane.' Next up is passing the federal highway safety tests."
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Flying Cars Hop Slightly Closer With FAA Weight Waiver

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  • Say what? (Score:4, Informative)

    by djupedal (584558) on Friday June 25, 2010 @07:56PM (#32698426)
    Years? Anyone? Anyone....? Bueller?

    - Moller Skycars: 1962

    Try decades.....nearly two generations if you go back to when PM touted them as the next step in the American dream...
    • Re:Say what? (Score:5, Informative)

      by FooAtWFU (699187) on Friday June 25, 2010 @08:01PM (#32698456) Homepage
      That is a flying car. This is just an airplane that you can drive home to your garage so you don't have to pay exorbitant hangar fees.
      • Re:Say what? (Score:4, Insightful)

        by gman003 (1693318) on Friday June 25, 2010 @08:19PM (#32698568)

        Which is still a big step towards flying cars.

        • Re:Say what? (Score:5, Insightful)

          by OldTOP (1118645) on Friday June 25, 2010 @10:24PM (#32699344)
          But really not the point.

          As a lot of people have pointed out, flying is harder than driving. A roadable airplane would appeal to an existing market of licensed pilots. The concept of a flying car is that you trade in the clapped out Taurus and take off in your new whirlygig from the dealer's parking lot and somehow make your way home without making an appearance on the nightly news -- assuming that such mayhem had not become too commonplace to make the news any more.

          This project actually expands the potential market a bit, since they've managed to get it certified as a Light Sport Aircraft (LSA). You only need a Sport Pilot license to fly it, and you can get one more easily (and cheaply) than a Private Pilot license. There are restrictions (only one passenger, no night flying, and don't go near the major airports, for example -- and even with a Private Pilot license, the restrictions apply because it's an LSA) but it would be great for recreational use.

          You'd still have to keep the old Taurus on the road, because you certainly wouldn't want someone rendering your $100K LSA un-airworthy while you left it in the supermarket parking lot.

          "Roadable" means you don't have to leave it at the airport, and if you run into bad weather you can land and drive home, and if you fly down to the airport near the beach, you can drive the rest of the way -- if you think it's safe to park it off the airport.

          Taking an airplane and making it roadable may not seem like much of an idea if you were thinking of the Jetsons, but if you're already a pilot, or are thinking about becoming one, it's a pretty neat idea.
          • Flying is easy. Landing is a killer.
            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              by TheLink (130905)
              Flying is easy if you're the only bird in the air.

              Flocking is not easy. Thousands of flamingoes can fly together and land together without killing or maiming each other. I doubt that many humans can "flock" like that.

              It's more like formation flying.

              So, I'm fine with flying cars if they make the license requirements stringent enough:

              Able to stick in formation and designated air-lanes even when:
              1) The phone rings
              2) Some kid puts his hands around your eyes.
              3) Someone drops stuff in the car while you (and other
              • by ultranova (717540)

                Many pilots have stayed with their plane risking (or even losing) their lives without ejecting because they know their plane would kill others if they ejected. That's the degree of professionalism and responsibility I'd want from someone whose allowed to fly a multi-ton vehicle above a densely populated city on a regular basis.

                So in short, to get flying cars, invest in AI research.

              • by Chapter80 (926879)

                Flying is easy if you're the only bird in the air.

                Flocking is not easy. Thousands of flamingoes can fly together and land together without killing or maiming each other. I doubt that many humans can "flock" like that.

                It's more like formation flying.

                OK, you Slashdot folks are a smart group. Answer this simple question:

                When ducks fly in formation, it's often a V pattern, with one side of the V slightly longer than the other side.

                Why is that?

                Orpnhfr gurer ner zber qhpxf ba gur ybatre fvqr. [rot13.com]

                • by TheLink (130905)
                  Just guessing:
                  J formations get about the same benefit, and the birds can't be bothered to make extra effort to keep the sides balanced?

                  And if the lead birds on average have a tendency to drop out to one side more than the other (due to "handedness" or other reason) it results in a long J formation.

                  Doubt they are so concerned about the aesthetics of it, in order to burn extra energy to fly all the way to the other side to balance it just because the leaders keep dropping out right (or left).

                  Maybe "handedness
          • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

            by BrightSpark (1578977)
            With you here. Most idiots can't control their clapped out Taurus's (or is that Tauri?) so how on earth will they manage flying? I see old farts pull out in carparks straight into each other all the time - even with just 30' of height that will be all over red rover! And don't start me on energy/benefit either. Do you really want to get to work quicker and pay more doing it? C'mon guys, we're /. nerds we can see past this one. Hey guys ....
          • Light sport aircraft are permitted at major airports in the U.S., including Class B airports. You may be thinking of the modest restrictions on traditional Experimental Category aircraft. Pilots with a sport pilot license must receive additional training and a specific endorsement to fly to/from airports within Class B, C, and D airspace, but there's no restriction on the LSA, assuming it is transponder-equipped.
          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by joe_frisch (1366229)

            An airplane that can be driven would be great - if there were no other disadvantages. The problem is that aircraft are already such optimized designs that you take a big performance hit when you modify them for road use. You end up with something that is a mediocre airplane and a mediocre car. If you look at the specs, the "useful load" is 430 pounds. Useful load includes fuel (30 pounds an hour). This means you can barely carry 2 average sized adults. For such a low speed aircraft (100 Kts) it needs a lot

            • by ngg (193578)
              To add to the parent's point--even if most pilots didn't insist on doing a pre-flight inspection, the FAA still would. But this brings up an interesting point: Has anyone else noticed *all* of Terrafugia's videos show the airplane taxiing off the runway, folding its wings, and then driving home, while none show the reverse? Yea, that's because pulling out of your garage, hitting the 'unfold the wings' button, and launching into the wild blue yonder would be illegal. Somewhere in the bowels of Terrafugia'
      • by jjo (62046) on Friday June 25, 2010 @10:35PM (#32699398) Homepage
        The Terrafugia "roadable airplane" (not flying car) is designed principally to make the airplane more practical for trips where either
        1. nearby airports with convenient ground transportation are not available, or
        2. due to weather, it may not be possible to fly the entire route in a light airplane

        The Terrafugia does save money on rental cars, but much more importantly, it makes it practical to use small airports where rental cars are difficult or impossible to obtain. On round trips with several days between the outbound and inbound legs, it is difficult or impossible to be sure that the weather will be aceptable for the return flight. With a roadable airplane, if the weather turns bad you just drive home instead of flying.

        • Oh, then it would be useful if they made it an offroader, capable of flying, landing on water, and driving on all terrain on land. Land anywhere, even in the middle of the jungle, and still be able to go anywhere!

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by wilbrod (471600)

      Years? Anyone? Anyone....? Bueller?

      Refundable airframe reservations are being accepted with first delivery scheduled for late 2011.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by bmo (77928)

        Refundable airframe reservations are being accepted with first delivery scheduled for late 2011.

        HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR

        Do you know what an unsecured debt is? That's what this is. Unsecured debts are *last* on the list in any bankruptcy.

        Considering the Moller skycar being anything but pure decades-old vaporware, the "refundable" feature doesn't take the edge off of the potential that the company might go belly up in the next minute.

        --
        BMO

        • http://www.terrafugia.com/photogallery.html [terrafugia.com]

          This thing has nothing in common with pie in the sky "sky cars". It's just a light aircraft that happens to be able to drive on the road.

          Sure they might go out of business for some reason, but it's not like they're promising moonbeams and fairy dust - they have a working prototype and there must be plenty of guys out there who both want and can afford something like this. Since the design is already worked out and approved then it seems all they need to do now is s

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by gmuslera (3436)
      Probably most of the "waiting" in popular culture was more about the one in Back to the Future, from 1985 (ok, mostly was flying in part II, in 1989), than anything else. It even had a specific date for having them, at 2015. But apparently we are a bit far away from personal, portable fussion reactors (that can be feed with just garbage), antigrav devices and, well, time machines, in less than 5 years, but i still don't lose hope. A flying DeLorean can still land on Cyberdyne 20 years ago and we would have
    • It's basically insane to REQUIRE crashworthiness for such an obviously special vehicle. I drive a Honda Helix, freeway legal. No crash tests.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    What people really want is personal airplanes they can buy for cheap, land anywhere, and manually control, like on the Jetson's, but probably better looking. Would any of you truly feel safe with that kind of thing mass-produced and essentially replacing the automobile? Most people have problems with 2-D control, much less 3-D. Even with multiple levels of safety systems, and a computer programmed to somehow prevent people from doing stupid things, I still don't trust any of you to not fly into my house.

    • by QuantumG (50515) * <qg@biodome.org> on Friday June 25, 2010 @08:41PM (#32698718) Homepage Journal

      Not to disparage your opinion of the average person's flying ability as I'm sure most of us would agree with that, but..

      I don't understand where this attitude came from that because you anticipate someone, some day, may crash into your house that you would ban anyone, ever, from having a flying vehicle. I know that's not precisely what you're saying, but I don't understand how you imagine a ban on these vehicles would actually work. For example, if you're suggesting that no-one should be able to fly one of these vehicles without first obtaining a pilot's license then I would say ok, no problem, couldn't agree with you more.. but I don't think you are. I think what you're saying is that you don't want there to be a populous movement to acquire a pilot's license as that will somehow make flying more dangerous. Or, maybe, you're saying that no aircraft should be allowed to fly near your house... but I find that a terribly strange position to take because there's already laws against that..

      So, uhhh.. could you maybe clarify what exactly it is you're opposed to and what action you imagine should (or shouldn't) be taken to prevent it?

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        I would want personal flying cars to only be able to take off and land in designated areas, far away from living areas, like my house. Which would basically mean they are restricted to the airport, and designated airways.

        This is not what people who want "flying cars" want. They want to be able to fly their cars anywhere, land in their driveways. Otherwise what is the point of calling it a "flying car" and not "airplane"?

        I don't mind everyone getting pilot's licenses, but again, people who want a "flying

        • by MichaelSmith (789609) on Friday June 25, 2010 @08:57PM (#32698838) Homepage Journal

          Even if everyone got a pilot's license, I don't trust normal people with that kind of responsibility. What a dumb idea. Futuristic mental masturbation, really.

          I see your point. Automated aircraft are here now, while automated surface vehicles are a long way off. So maybe the "flying car" when it comes will be largely automated. The pilot will say "take me to X,Y" and the computers will do the rest.

          • by Aboroth (1841308)
            People who want flying cars are typically naive, and never expect anything to go wrong.

            To put it in perspective, any piloted object, including an airplane, is basically a controlled missile. Depending on the fuel source, you could even consider it to have an explosive payload. Taking a car, making it fly, and giving it to everyone would require an enormous amount of planning and technology to make it safe enough. Nothing is ever 100% safe, but I'd like the chances of any flying vehicle hitting my hous
            • Active stability is a good way to get additional performance, and to ensure reliance on automated controls. VTOL aircraft are hard to control, so maybe hackers will find their activities quickly self correcting.

              • by cynyr (703126)
                I was under the impression that most of the "driver aids" in cars today actually hindered performance of the car in skilled hands, as an example, F1 cars have no TCS, no ABS, no anti skid, minimal automatic engine management, etc. Same goes for World Rally Cars, and motoGP bikes, seems like humans still have the edge there.
                • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

                  by Anonymous Coward

                  You're mistaken. I follow F1 a lot and whilst I'm no expert, I can assure you that the reason why driver aids were limited was the opposite of what you believe. Driver aids were limited because they were too good and consequently driver skill mattered less. Drivers were not competing with each other anymore - the teams' driver aids were. If any driver could outperform such systems, teams would obviously have removed them voluntarily.

                  • by tivoKlr (659818) on Friday June 25, 2010 @11:14PM (#32699600) Journal
                    You're right, drivers aids in F1 were limited as to make driver participation a part of the sport. Drivers aids in current road automobiles are a reaction to the absolutely horrific driving skills of the average driver, or even worse, the aging driver.
                  • by Idbar (1034346)
                    I followed F1 for sometime also, and I also know that many limitations are imposed to reduce the top speed and sometimes acceleration of the vehicles.
                    1. Rules enforce fairness among the competitors. If your team cannot afford some technology then better limit the spread of such.
                    2. Rules enforce safety of the competitors and observers. If they reach 600mph on a track your car better: A. hold the pieces together so observars are not killed with flying parts and B. Make a small attempt to keep the driver al
                • by MichaelSmith (789609) on Friday June 25, 2010 @10:31PM (#32699380) Homepage Journal

                  Well I am talking about aircraft. Many military jets are almost impossible to fly without computer assistance. The airframe is unstable in the sense that without control input they would tumble about and crash.

          • by hitmark (640295)

            this works because unlike road (that often follow old walking paths or similar) airplanes travel in straight lines.

            once up in the right altitude and pointing in the right direction, its a case of locking the controls to keep speed and direction the same.One also have people on the ground continually watching where all the airplanes are located, and assigning them space in "corridors". This would be like having someone watching the road to make sure you never get within a certain distance of the vehicle ahea

            • Yeah I know. I write ATC software for a living. But the real difference is that the Air is relatively empty (other than of gas molecules) while the Ground is covered with Stuff.

        • by QuantumG (50515) *

          Everything you said makes sense except for this:

          Even if everyone got a pilot's license, I don't trust normal people with that kind of responsibility.

          Pilots are normal people... What responsibility don't you want to trust them with? Do you mean we shouldn't trust pilots to fly near your house? We don't.

          Let me just ask this question: Do you oppose people getting pilot's licenses and flying their own plane? Does it matter how many people do it? Does it matter whether or not the plane can also drive on the freeway?

          If the answer is no, then it sounds like you're just saying you object to relaxing regulation

          • by hitmark (640295)

            so rather then expanding highways, one would expand near city airports to handle the flying cars?

            and i think we need to define our terms, as i suspect a lot of people envision something closer to a helicopter when talking about a flying car. Something that you can roll out of the garage and then go straight up from the driveway with.

            • by QuantumG (50515) *

              What people imagine and what the FAA allows are almost always two different things. What I don't understand is people who assume the only thing possible is what they saw in sci-fi.

              Get creative. Consider the possibility of a runway parallel to a highway.. the tower clears you for landing, after landing on the runway you continue taxiing onto the highway and merge, then the next pilot can be cleared to land. Similarly for takeoffs, but perhaps with a traffic calming on-ramp to the runway.

              • by hitmark (640295)

                could work, the main thing is to get clearance from the tower before leaving the highway for the runway when taking off.

      • by Aboroth (1841308)
        You are put words in his mouth. Did he say he wanted to ban anyone, ever from having a flying vehicle? No. The idea of a flying car is stupid. I'm fine with the way air travel currently works. If you want to fly your own plane, you can, but you have to use an airport and follow a lot of rules. Personally, I'm in favor of airplanes, in the current style we have now. Sure you can drive it home if it is designed for that, but never fly it home. But what is that? It isn't a flying car, it is an airplane th
        • by QuantumG (50515) *

          I was trying to understand what his point was.. sometimes that involves suggesting that someone said something they didn't so they can clarify. I think I made it clear that he *didn't* say any of the things I suggested.

      • by DeadboltX (751907)
        [quote]as that will somehow make flying more dangerous[/quote] I'd say that adding 1 million planes to the airspace would make it more dangerous
        • by QuantumG (50515) *

          use <quote> on Slashdot.

          Using current systems? sure. But as the Aeronautics part of NASA has been saying for years, flight traffic control needs a massive upgrade. It's coming and it could handle that kind of load.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by FlyingGuy (989135)

        As a pilot, the part I am mostly opposed to is that you don't have to have a medical exam to fly this fucking contraption. If I can't pass my medical I cannot even fly a Cessna 150 which weighs in at about the same as this thing does. What scares me more then anything is the idea of a bunch of executives who are on their 3rd bypass operation having a fucking heart attack and then crashing into whatever happens to be below them, or worse having auto pilot that keeps the thing flying into down town San Fran

        • by QuantumG (50515) *

          you don't have to have a medical exam to fly this fucking contraption. If I can't pass my medical I cannot even fly a Cessna 150 which weighs in at about the same as this thing does.

          Really? Is there some special exception to the law which you could refer me to which excludes pilots from the medical requirements for this vehicle but not for the vehicle you mentioned? What's the criteria?

          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by ghjm (8918)

            Yes, the special exception is called "Light Sport Aircraft." The criteria are that it can have no more than 2 seats, no more than 120 knots normal cruise, no more than 1320 lbs gross weight, and various other more technical requirements. The Cessna 150/152 does not qualify because it weighs 1600+ lbs. There are dozens of LSA models on the market.

            LSA aircraft can be flown with a new category of pilot certification that requires less training and does not require a formal medical exam. (Although you're suppos

            • by QuantumG (50515) *

              I read down a little more and saw that, yeah. I'm not sure the objections are valid but, if they are, they are against the entire entire LSA category and that's the FAA's decision. It's not something specific with drivable planes.

              • by osu-neko (2604)

                I'm not sure the objections are valid but, if they are, they are against the entire entire LSA category and that's the FAA's decision. It's not something specific with drivable planes.

                It's specific to this drivable plane -- the FAA just granted an exception allowing them to treat this as an LSA despite the fact that it weighs as much as a Cessna, and thus is likely to be just as lethal to whatever it crashes into. All the momentum of a Cessna, without the safety requirements! Wonderful. The objection you're objecting too does not apply to the entire LSA category because most of the aircraft in it are light.

            • It seems our FAA just made it a bit eaiser too as the raised the maximum weight for this thing to 1430 lbs see this CNN [cnn.com] article.

              it costs $194,000.00 USD so you know who is going to be buying this thing. Yup the CEO that is on his third by-pass operation and no medical certificate required. It is only 170 lbs lighter then a Cessna 150 which you cannot fly after you have had a by-pass operation because you cannot pass a 3rd class medical examine without an exemption from the FAA, which in the case of of hea

              • by ghjm (8918)

                Well, keep in mind that if you have a medical condition "that would make [you] unable to operate the aircraft in a safe manner," you're supposed to self-disqualify, even in an LSA.

                Of course, you can also fly a Stemme motorglider with a 115hp Rotax, 140 knot cruise speed, and 1850 lbs MTOW with no medical whatsoever.

                So my question is: Is the problem that medical requirements are overly weak for LSAs and gliders, or is it that they are overly burdensome for non-complex ASELs?

                • by FlyingGuy (989135)

                  No they are not overly burdensome. I was pissed at the hoops I had to jump through but as a holder PP-SEL certificate I can fly figure eights of the the city of San Francisco, or Dallas or wherever and can land at any airport I want, yes even Washington National.

                  The problem is that this is a slippery slope because the people buying these things are going to be CEO's and the like then big time lawyers who think that their time is worth more then anyone else's and I am guessing a bunch of them will be K Stree

                  • by ghjm (8918)

                    In Terrafugia's wildest dreams.

                    The CEOs and K Street types already have the helicopter exemption to FAR 91.119. They can already land wherever they want. Most of them have no interest in flying - for them a pilot is someone you hire, not someone you aspire to be.

                    You can't fly in to Washington National on a PPL-ASEL any more. It is closed to all Part 91 operations.

      • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        I'm not worried about overhead cars crashing into my house. I'm worried about the damn NOISE. Road vehicles are bad enough, thank you. I used to live under an air route. OK, the planes were bigger than flying cars, but they only flew overhead every few hours.

      • So, uhhh.. could you maybe clarify what exactly it is you're opposed to...

        I think he was reasonably clear that he was opposed to people flying cars into his house... :-P

      • by selven (1556643)

        I think what you're saying is that you don't want there to be a populous movement to acquire a pilot's license as that will somehow make flying more dangerous.

        It is a somewhat valid point. The number of aerial accidents will increase with the square of the number of planes in the air, so flying will start to require a lot more experience than a current pilot's license if every average Joe is flying one.

    • by hitmark (640295)

      iirc, UK law had the first "cars" (motorized carriage basically) have a person walking in from of it with a red flag to warn nearby people, and was limited to walking speed or there about.

    • by 4D6963 (933028)

      What I really don't get is people like you. We live in an age where we can almost make cars drive themselves through traffic. For a VTOL like a sci-fi flying car, it would be even more trivial to have a system that would take off vertically from a point, reach a specific altitude, follow a specific set of paths and land vertically on a programmed spot.

      This would be relatively trivial to achieve, so can you tell me of any single damn reason why an eventual flying car should require more input than "take of

      • by ultranova (717540)

        This would be relatively trivial to achieve, so can you tell me of any single damn reason why an eventual flying car should require more input than "take off and take us to school"?

        It's the same reason why some people insist on using C/C++ by default: Manly Men Manage Memory Manually.

        • by 4D6963 (933028)
          There's a slight distinction between engineers who create things and users who use things. Your analogy is worse than a car analogy.
          • by ultranova (717540)

            There's a slight distinction between engineers who create things and users who use things.

            Most programmers aren't engineers, but that doesn't stop them from having delusions of being one. Most drivers aren't good, but that doesn't stop them from having delusions of being so. And so forth. That was my point.

            Your analogy is worse than a car analogy.

            Then I have properly and accurately reflected the C++ philosophy and the culture of nerd machismo that surrounds it :).

  • by drwho (4190) on Friday June 25, 2010 @08:32PM (#32698648) Homepage Journal

    Yes you see I've already got one. The flying, though, isn't the difficult part. It's the landing that's a bitch. Gravity sucks. Quick change of inertia sucks more.

    • Yes you see I've already got one. The flying, though, isn't the difficult part. It's the landing that's a bitch. Gravity sucks. Quick change of inertia sucks more.

      Its only the last half inch that hurts. I have flown hang gliders and I can attest to that.

      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        by wernercd (837757)
        No... the first 8.5 inches hurt too... ask your mom. Thank you... I'll be here all week.
    • by ascari (1400977)
      You got it wrong, but only slightly: Gravity pulls. Vacuum sucks. Quick change of inertia is an oxymoron.
  • Duck. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by w0mprat (1317953) on Friday June 25, 2010 @08:35PM (#32698678)
    People have enough trouble using their turn signals, safe following distances and I don't know, general road rules? Adding a 3rd dimension and 200mph is asking for chaos. So what we're talking about is a aircraft that fits in a domestic garage and has road-legal extended taxiing ability. It's still a aircraft first. Thankfully.
    • Re:Duck. (Score:4, Insightful)

      by cynyr (703126) on Friday June 25, 2010 @10:02PM (#32699244)
      but there is a lot more space, and make an annoying blinking beeping light if they are too close... They should do that on road cars now that i think of it. use the speedo and the radar range finder, to figure out the "safe minimum distance" granted it wouldn't know about things like cold wet brakes, or black ice... but it would be helpful as a "you are way too fucking close" sort of light.
    • by gad_zuki! (70830)

      >So what we're talking about is a aircraft that fits in a domestic garage and has road-legal extended taxiing ability. It's still a aircraft first.

      Pretty much. It would be foolish to allow people to fly these things without a proper pilot's license. Probably non-instrument rated, but that means you're not driving/flying (fliving?) at night. Not to mention the price of these things will be prohibitively expensive. You won't have the economies of scales cars enjoy.

    • People have enough trouble using their turn signals, safe following distances and I don't know, general road rules? Adding a 3rd dimension and 200mph is asking for chaos.

      Computer-control would be a better bet in urban areas. Not only would that reduce human error, but also find the safest emergency landing areas quickly using GIS databases.

      • by ghjm (8918)

        Do me a favor. Go wander down to the general aviation section of your closest airport. Find a mechanic. Ask them how reliable the sensors, servos and control electronics are in GA autopilots. Listen to the answer. Then think carefully about how mandatory computer control of GA aircraft would really work.

        • by osu-neko (2604)
          This is good advice, as everyone knows that one mechanic's anecdotes are worth a heck of a lot more than any controlled studies. /sarcasm
          • by ghjm (8918)

            What controlled study?

            Also, we're not talking about auto mechanics here. Aviation mechanics have to sign off on your annual airworthiness inspection. Every pilot bets his life every flight that his mechanic is reliable and trustworthy. So yes, their opinion is worth a hell of a lot to me.

            If you want to eliminate the crackpot factor, just visit 20 different airports.

    • by Vegeta99 (219501)

      You think the third dimension would be a bad thing?? I remember my first "wreck"... I was about 17, and my choices were whitetail deer, guard rail, or school bus with Catholic schoolchildren. I chose tasty, tasty venison, and it was my most expensive deer ever at $2,600. I would have LOVED the "jump the deer" option and saved that $2,600 for a few extra rounds for the REAL deer season.

  • A little late! (Score:2, Insightful)

    I was told we would have flying cars in the year 2000. Where are my flying cars damnit!
    • I was told 2015. We still got 5 years...

      I wonder how much extra power these cars will require...my money's on 1.21 jigawatts.
    • by ghjm (8918)

      At the airport, where they belong. I just flew one from NC to PA and back last weekend. If you want to fly, what's stopping you?

  • by zill (1690130) on Friday June 25, 2010 @08:48PM (#32698768)
  • Weight limit? (Score:3, Informative)

    by AnAdventurer (1548515) on Friday June 25, 2010 @08:52PM (#32698800)
    1500 pounds? Humm, you are going to drive that on the hwy? You are braver then I. I think the Jeep Wrangler weighs twice that. What kind of engine is in a 1500 pound plane, wait I know, what kind of safety cage is in that? Oh, wait I know that too.
    • Re:Weight limit? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by MichaelSmith (789609) on Friday June 25, 2010 @09:06PM (#32698898) Homepage Journal

      Well I drive an 11 kilo bicycle to work on highways. Maybe the real problem is with the Jeep Wrangler et al.

      • Re:Weight limit? (Score:4, Insightful)

        by cynyr (703126) on Friday June 25, 2010 @10:08PM (#32699270)
        you sir speak the truth, the problem isn't the bike/small car, but the guy on his phone in his 2.5 ton SUV, drinking his coffee. I vote the limit for a drivers license be 2000 LB, and that it must be a stick, unless you apply for an exemtion from the state for physical disability to drive a stick. You try driving a stick in rush hour while on the phone, eating a bagel, drinking coffee. Bet it sorts it's self out after a few weeks.
        • by drinkypoo (153816)

          It would make the most sense to simply have higher classes of license for heavier vehicles, possibly with higher penalties for higher classes of license as is done in some states (e.g. California) already. Except we only have one class of noncommercial license, where we could use more. Ideally people with the basest license would be banned from the most technical roads as well :)

        • by hitmark (640295)

          handsfree, and custom cup and bagel holders mounted to the seat at head height?

        • by MarkRose (820682)

          I often enjoy bottled beverages while driving stick in stop and go traffic. It's not that hard. Don't shift violently, and most of the time a single gear is sufficient. I'll never drive in rush hour on the phone though... it will take my concentration off all the skin that comes out in summer. ;-)

    • by saihung (19097)

      That's how much my classic Fiat weighs.

      I've taken it on the highway. It was terrifying.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 25, 2010 @09:24PM (#32699018)

    We call them helicopters.

    Most of you cannot afford one, and will never be able to afford one.

    Tough shit for you.

    I've got one.

                                                                                                      - Clint Eastwood

  • http://www.terrafugia.com/newsreleases.html [terrafugia.com]
    http://www.terrafugia.com/newsreleases.html#110 [terrafugia.com]

    I hope these people can engineer better than they can spell. Maybe a slashdot editor is running their site..
  • NASA's Puffin flier looks like a better bet to me, partly because it's single-person, meaning it has a lighter power need and smaller parking profile.

  • There have been at lest three flying cars in the past. There was Molt Taylor's Aerocar, one design in the 50's from an organization in Greenville, Texas, and another whose genesis I don't specifically remember. At least the Aerocar (and maybe the others) had FAA certification. Once the technical problems have been surmounted, it always winds up that the cars are using an expensive aircraft engine to drive down the road. The cost of driving goes up fantastically. People say they want a car that can be flow
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by osu-neko (2604)
      Cost of operation should be in the ballpark for a typical aircraft. Granted, that's a lot more than a car, but it's a non-issue here, since this isn't intended to be a car replacement. Despite hype in headlines, this is meant to be used as a roadable aircraft, not a flyable car. No one will be looking to buy one who wasn't already looking at buying an airplane, and will expect it to cost as much as it actually does to operate. They're competing with Cessna, not Toyota, and they have an advantage that wi
  • The wavier they granted is to allow this aircraft to be consider "light-sport", which means you can fly it with out a third class medical. This is NOT that big a deal and the summary makes it sound like some sort of break-through and that the FAA has held everything up. This just not correct.

    The flying car sucks because just like the moped, it doesn't excel at either it's missions. It can never be as good an airplane as one designed just for flying and it can never be a very nice, safe car either. I

Nothing is impossible for the man who doesn't have to do it himself. -- A.H. Weiler

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