Photo: via YouTube
The idealization and realisation of what the future could become and indeed what it would become is something that was well pondered about during the 1950s.After the depression that was World War II, the world felt revived and upbeat. There was new money, new ideas and, more importantly, new creative minds. The inspiration behind some of the best and most innovative inventions of the 20th century came after the war, and with new prospects came a fresh way of thinking about the future.
The coming years, it seemed, would be not only a technological marvel but a complete overhaul of what we thought transportation could be.
The 50’s were a decade of absolute dreaming euphoria. We started plans to get to the moon, we began to make motor cars that were actually viable for daily use, and we started to invent technologies that we’re very helpful, indeed.
Along with this thinking, we began to dream of what was physically possible. Cars were a big part of the dreaming, and with Japanese companies making cars that were not only well-made but biblically reliable, the sky literally was the limit with our imaginations for what was possible.
Our visionaries saw a future of flying cars. It was promised to us that in a few decades we would all we taking the automotive highway in the sky and that flying cars would be the way we would all be travelling to work.
As we know, this didn’t really take off – pun intended. There were a few attempts at the flying car during the 50’s and 60’s, but along with ridiculously high list prices, the flying cars were just not very good. As cars, they were compromised, and as flying cars they were compromised. Basically, as a motoring proposition, they were compromised. Nobody wanted one – despite the dreamy visions – and as the 60’s played out, so did the flying car.
That is, until now. That’s right; 2012 is the year when the flying car returns. The Terrafugia Transition is the 21st century version of the flying car and it’s going to be a big make or break for the company in a market that is probably already mentality against the old-school idea of a car that can fly. And at $279,000 a car, the Transition had better be good.
So, first impressions: well, it’s a car that has also been designed to be a plane, and as a result it does look quite odd. The wings are folded when it’s in car mode, but let’s be honest; you can still tell it’s a car-plane thingy. You’re going to look like quite the idiot when driving down your local street in this bad-boy. It has a top speed of 115mph and a range of 490 miles, so it’s definitely more a short-haul cruiser than long-haul bruiser. Really, it’s probably going to make more sense as a plane than a car.
And when you see shots of the Transition in-flight, it certainly doesn’t look stupid. It resembles a Cessna more than a typical family hatch-back and it does look good in the air, but is it $300,000s worth of good? That’s the tough question.
After all, in this day and age you need licenses for everything you do. The paperwork to be able to drive and fly this thing is going to be insane. You’ll have to be a trained pilot, a qualified driver and have a whole host of other licenses and agreements before you can even take this thing out. Oh, and not to mention you could probably do with your own landing or air strip at your home – otherwise, it’s going to be a bit of a pain having to trek to your local airfield every morning for work.
And really, that’s where the problem lies. The 21st century has brought us the iPod, the iPhone and a million other incredible advances, but one thing we haven’t yet got is the infrastructure for a viable flying car – even if the Transition is absolutely incredible. It’s going to take time and a lot of money for there to be thousands of these things flying above our heads, and while the idea is a noble one, it’s probably never really going to work in the foreseeable future.
Couple that with the $300,000 price-tag and you’ve got a flying car that is really only going to be bought by millionaires who own a house with a landing-strip next-door. Tom Cruise and John Travolta will, undoubtedly, be Terrafugia’s aim as celebrity co-signers.
For the rest of us, the main issue with the Terrafugia and the flying car is the paperwork. It’s just not the right time for this type of technology.
But one day…
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