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Sunday, March 18, 2018

Barriers to the mass adoption of flying cars

The idea of a hybrid plane and car for more than a century, but so far it is only single samples and projects with uncertain prospects. Mass adoption of flying cars interfere with several objective problems, however the future is closer than you think: for some time, such devices are not science fiction and not a whim, but a reality.

Last week, the Japanese automaker Toyota has registered a patent for a double flying car with a propeller that can change the shape of the fuselage and folding wings. Theoretically, it is a production model. At the same time, a number of businessmen (for example, Google co-founder Larry page) are trying to create a flying machine for himself personally – as a piece of the project for personal purposes. Anyway, in recent years, interest in hybrids car and plane has increased dramatically, and many hope that the future of the manifested world in the cult film of Robert Zemeckis, is not far off.


“During a tour of Cuba flying car tested himself Raul Castro, giving the invention a high rating

The idea to combine the best qualities of the automobile and airplane, dates back to the beginning of the last century. In 1917, the American aircraft designer Glenn Curtiss developed a hybrid of airplane and car called the AutoPlane. Alas, a bold project has not gone beyond the experimental hops “avtoplan”. Second wind, the idea of a flying car was in the late 1940’s, when former naval Aviator and aircraft designer Moulton Taylor designed the “Aerokar device capable of the same success surf “the fifth ocean” and to drive on the highway. His first flight of this machine, called “Model I”, made in December 1949. Actually, it was not so much a flying car as driving on the highway the plane. Its fiberglass fuselage with handed out small wheels and resembled a minivan, the size not exceeding the first model of “Zaporozhets”. On the ground he dragged around as a trailer tail boom with folded wings, tail and pusher propeller. For rotation of the wheels and the propeller used the same engine. According to Taylor, to turn the plane in the car was so simple that it could make “woman in a fur coat and high heels”.

After seven years of extensive testing, the car has received in 1956 a coveted certificate from the Federal aviation administration of the United States. By the time “Aerokar” has become a celebrity. It was advertised by the famous artists and members of the media, his photos filled the pages of Newspapers and magazines, Americans willingly bought the shares based Taylor companies “Aerokar international”, and during a tour of Cuba flying car tested himself Raul Castro, giving the invention a high rating. It seemed a little more – and the conveyor will start a thread to get those nice looking apparatus that resembled dragonflies with folded back wings, but, despite the apparent interest in the aircar, the number of people willing to buy it has not reached 1000 people and owners of the company lost interest in producing flying cars.

The lack of buyers can be explained by two reasons. The first was that by the mid-1950s President Dwight Eisenhower, impressed by the autobahn he saw in Germany at the end of the Second world war, has already managed to cover the America high-speed network of highways – the highway. There were many roads, and cars are relatively small, so that the traffic problem” has not been so acute as in our days.

And the second reason is the representation of Americans in those years about what should be the car. In 50-e and 60-e years of the last century in the USA reigned topped with shark fins on the rear fenders, “Cadillac”, “Chevrolet”, “Ford” and “Buicks”, its dimensions resembling probably the beds king size on wheels than cars. Microwaveability “Aerokar”, designed to carry two people through the air and three on the ground, does not fit into these representations, and the cost is not cheap – three or four thousand dollars. In the second half of 1950-ies for the money you could buy a full five – or six-seater sedan.

But Taylor did not give up. He continued his work on “Aerocare”, with the result that in the second half of 1960-ies appeared seriously upgraded version under the name “Model III”. Now he was reminded not microorganic, and a sports car with wings. Like its predecessor, it was designed for the carriage by air of two people, but could do it with speed of 200 km/hour and at a distance of 800 kilometers.

By the time the situation on American roads have changed for the worse – has become much more and drivers more often fell into the tube. Besides the fascination of the automobile mastodons on wheels began to leave in the past: gasoline rose in price, and compact cars became more and more popular in particular due to its efficiency. The first model “Aerocare” with a maximum takeoff weight less than one tonne wasting 13 liters of fuel per 100 kilometers when driving on the ground (a very good indicator for machines of the 1950s and 1960s) and 30 liters per hour of flight. However, she used the aviation gasoline with an octane number below 80.

After the light appeared the “Model III”, production “Aerocarb joined such a “heavyweight”, as the Ford company. Conducted market analysis found that car with wings there are at least 25 thousand customers annually. 4 thousands of dealers across America were already prepared to begin selling “Aerocarb”. However, when representatives of Ford, including Taylor, went to the Ministry of transport to legalise “Aerokar” on the roads, they got a nasty surprise. It turns out that shortly before the Ministry approved the new rules of certification of vehicles. It is assumed that the winged vehicle must meet all the requirements of a normal car exhaust, noise, strength of the side walls and doors, fuel economy and also have standard tires, lights, headlights, mufflers, windshield and much more, without which it is impossible to imagine modern vehicle. As soon as Ford found out, he immediately lost interest in Aerocar”, as well as members of the Board of Directors Aerokar international. So the project was left without financial support and was closed.

It only remains to add that over the years over the “Aerocare” was produced six machines of this type. The price of some of them is more than $ 2 million.

Taylor was not the only one who in those years tried to create a car with wings. Just “Aerokar” turned out to be the most successful model. Of the other proposed designs of the time you can allocate Convair Model 118 ConvAirCar. This car is not dragging the wings with the motor and tail as “Aerokar” – they can be removed, turning the device into an ordinary, unremarkable machine small size. Attempts to create a flying car were made after the “Aerocar, but the success was not perfect.



At the festival of innovation Pioneers Festival in Vienna introduced the world’s first flying car AeroMobil 3.0. Prototype flying car has been developed over the last 24 years. Since October of this year the vehicle is undergoing flight tests in real weather Slavianskaya that the development of mankind, including science and technology, is on an upward spiral when people come back to what has already passed, but at a higher level. This observation applies to contemporary attempts to create winged cars. In the years since the appearance of “Aerocar” surrounding technological environment has become more conducive to the materialization of the idea of the car that drove like a car and fly like a plane. Traffic jams have become a kind of natural disaster, at the same time, there are light and durable composite materials, small but efficient engines, and computers took a significant role in the operation of aircraft, thereby increasing their reliability and security.

As for state regulation of flying machines of unconventional design, the easing of regulations in relation to the technique developed by private space companies in the United States, have prepared the ground to ensure that the state is no longer bound the wings to the cars.

While the greatest success in creating the flying car made two firms – American and Slovak Aeromobil Terrafugia. However, what they offer, should be called “autocomlete”, which is not so much the cars with wings, many planes that can drive on the roads. The first model of the company “Terrafugia” is called Transition, which translates as “transitional”. It is designed to carry one pilot-driver and one passenger at a speed of about 170 km/h on distance up to 800 km by air and up to 1300 km on the highway, and its maximum takeoff weight does not exceed 650 pounds. In the sky machine consumes 19 liters of fuel in one hour flight and on the ground spends 6.7 liters per 100 kilometers, it is computerized and has a touch-display on the dashboard. The estimated cost of a Transition is 280 thousand dollars.

As for the “flying car”, it is also designed to carry two people. Machine, judging by its appearance, offers greater comfort for pilot and passenger, than Transition. Flight and road characteristics are broadly similar, except that the “Aircar” is somewhat harder to use more fuel on the road (8 liters per 100 kilometers), but less – in the air (15 liters per hour of flight). With a full tank, it can fly 700 or to travel 900 kilometers. About the price yet is not spoken, but the head of the company Jurac, Vaculik said in 2015 that the product is aimed at wealthy buyers of luxury cars and aviation enthusiasts,” and that it will cost “hundreds of thousands of dollars.”

As Terrafugia, and the Aircar” declare that in a year or two of their offspring will go on sale. About Terrafugia also know that investors have already invested in this company 10 million dollars.


“The rear window of the car, though, no, but there is a TV camera rear view”

Those who have already imagined the sky, which, like birds, will draw the winged cars, little need to restrain the imagination. To say that driving Avtosamit”, freely flying around the tubes and is able to reach the destination by the shortest route with the least time and fuel costs in the foreseeable future will be to sit as much people as driving a normal car, a little premature. And it is not just the price of flying cars, which can ten times exceed the price of conventional.

Some experts fear that the spread of air-road hybrids can significantly increase environmental pollution, for if on earth, many drivers often refuse to travel on their own transport because of traffic jams, the air of such a deterrent will not. In addition, the use of “autosoliton” while difficult to fit into the current transportation infrastructure. For example, if you do not consider a specific option, in which the pilot-the driver will be in a desert, fairly straight and wide stretch of highway, for takeoff and landing “autosoliton” will be needed, though small, but the runway. This means that, for example, in the US their use is associated with 5000 airports for General aviation.

The creators of Transition has been able to meet the demands of the Federal aviation administration and National Directorate for security of traffic on motorways. Their car has air bags, and parachute, which “Avtosamit” will be able to land if different a safe landing can no longer be guaranteed. Rear window the car really, but there is rear view camera.

Note that as a Transition, and “Aircar”, despite its light weight, fairly large – their length is about 6 meters and the width with folded wings is about 2.3 meters. It will not complicate their operation on highways, but can make it difficult on narrower secondary roads. Problem tried to solve “Toyota”, suggesting the aircar with numerous wings which crest rose above his roof, but in its scope would be outside of the body. But as it turned out, this scheme significantly reduces the lifting force of the lower wings. In addition, the crosswind “autosoliton” type Transition “flying car” there are problems with stability.

However, progress does not stand still. The company Terrafugia is already actively developing a model, which, at least, there is no problem with dependence on airports. We are talking about a maximally automated TF-X (TM), which will take off and land like a helicopter and take people to a distance of 800 kilometers at a speed of 300 km/h. It will cost like the most expensive cars luxury. The creators promise to deliver TF-X (TM) on a conveyor belt in 8-12 years. Thus, it is possible to say that the cars or autosomally”, albeit in isolated instances, have already begun preparations for the conquest of earth and air routes.

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