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TF-X flying car 10 years away

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http://www.terrafugia.com/tf-x



Logically I never see flying cars happening. Its just cheaper to have everything on the ground. Plus if something breaks on the car, its pretty rare when the car crashes or injures someone. If people don't want to pay for gasoline, I can't imagine what the fuel cost for this monster would be.

Personally, I think it would be a better idea, and more economical to have remote controlled mini drones to fly to places and pick up shit and fly it back than it would be to have a vehicle to carry a person or 4 people.

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I'm susprised anyone still gives the old "flying car" concept a go. I thought that it was pretty dead with the infamous Moller Skycar.

So, in this case, essentially they propose using electric tiltrotors for VTOL (600 HP sustained power each at that size? Yeah right). That sure worked great for the Osprey....and batteries are obviously so advanced by now (as you can witness by the electric cars' awesome range and low weight) that, surely, sparing a megawatt of power to keep you airborne for a few hours shouldn't be a problem.

With such stubby wings, it will never have enough lift from forward speed alone, unless it's flying at 400 mph or something...which means the motors will have to work at full power for quite a long time.

And it's hybrid too? With a 300 HP motor supposed to produce not only thrust through a (ducted) push-prop, but also "recharge the batteries" used by TWO 600 HP motors? Energy balance, anyone?

From an energy/motor point of view, flying car designs are hardly any better than they were e.g. 50 years ago, when fuel was much cheaper (before the oil crisis). They do however have the advantage of vastly better avionics...the real goal is making a flying vehicle which is much simpler to pilot than an airplane, or even self-piloting, though I'd like to say what civil aviation authorities would've to say on the matter.

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Their music sucks. They should have gone for real TFX music.

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Flying cars are a science fiction staple but I don't see them ever actually happening in practice.

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They've been talking about this shit for years, it's time to let this fantasy go.

And people never seem to consider the consequences of 3D travel: Will there be designated air lanes? If so, how do I align myself to them? Why hasn't anyone considered the increased intentional for property damage and accidental death? Do I need a pilot's license? What if I wear glasses? Why why why whyyyyyyyyyyy

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Flying cars played an interesting role in Blade Runner: They were only used by authorities such as the police, you needed a pilot's license to operate one, you had to keep contact with air traffic control, and they could transform into normal wheeled cars. This seems practical to me. On a civilian/consumer level, not so much. The average person, in 10 years, will prefer getting their driver's license as a safeguard in case their automated car shuts down, as opposed to having to go through all this rigamarole just to fly.

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Has Terrafugia jumped off the deep end so they can have more money? Their "roadable airplane" stuff was at least a workable plan for a small number of rich pilots.

I honestly don't believe most people should be permitted to drive cars in urban settings. I'm completely against letting them fly anything. Other points have already been made against this silliness. Trains are
where it's at.

Speaking of flying cars, let's see what's up with the Moller Skycar. Yup! Moller's still batshit crazy. :D

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If we ever manage to find Arrakis, flying cars will be a necessity unless you're a Fremen. Kidding aside, we'd probably need it for any hostile world we intend to inhabit, but that won't be in our lifetimes.

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Jaxxoon R said:

What's the difference between an airplane and a flying car?


Or a helicopter, for that matter, which would be closer to the concept of being able to take off from your driveway and land e.g. at your office or shopping centre.

From what I understand, the difference is mainly in the intended ease of piloting it: a proper "flying car" would be distinguished by a conventional airplane or helicopter mainly be the use of powerful avionics software which would make piloting it as simple as driving, perhaps offering the driver really dumbed down controls and effortless VTOL and hovering (almost like a videogame or R/C toy), or even be fully automatic.

If you look at "flying car" concepts from the 50s, they weren't quite there yet: they were little more than a normal car with foldable airplane wings and a propeller, meant to be piloted by a trained aircraft pilot.

Later, in the 60s and 70s, they thought of basing them on hovercrafts/air cushions, which would make them ground effect rather than truly flying vehicles (they'd "fly" at most a few feet over the road)...still much harder to drive than a normal car, as a hovercraft can also "drift" sideways and gain/lose height, requiring more controls. Another important aspect from that era: fuels were cheap (the oil crisis hadn't hit yet).

Today, we definitively have much better avionics which could make at least a hover vehicle easy to drive without training, and even make a sort of VTOL vehicle like the Moller Skycar relatively easy to fly for a non-pilot (assuming the avionics would prevent performing dangerous maneuvers or entering hazardous flight conditions like e.g. rolling or looping, flying too fast/too close to the ground etc.)

But guess what...a small 4-seater, single engine plane can make do with 150 HP engine. A 2-seater helicopter like the R-22 needs about 200 HP to get by, while the Moller Skycar (and the TF-X) both use much, much more power to hover by using ducted fans or tiltrotors. In other words, they are very energy inefficient compared to conventional aircraft, even compared to the helicopter, which is a gas guzzler. Not really an attractive "feature" in a world which is on the brink of war over energy resources.

If however such vehicles do become reality, my guess is that they will be classed as a separate type of VTOL (depending on their design and capabilities, ofc) aircraft by civil aviation authorities (which will have a LOT to say on the matter) and that they will only be allowed to fly by people with a specific license/training for them, and then only on normal general aviation routes, definitively not inside cities (except for landing on private helipads).

IMO, the closest one can get to a "flying car" today is the humble gyrocopter: much lower maintenance and technical difficulty than a true helicopter and even many small airplanes, can take off and fly at lower speeds than an airplane, and in many countries you don't need either an airplane or helicopter license to fly one.

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Jaxxoon R said:

What's the difference between an airplane and a flying car?

One has a horn and is easier to parallel park.

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It makes no sense for any new transportation technology to involve human piloting. If "flying cars" happen, I expect it'll be in 30 to 50 years time, as an outgrowth of on-demand transport services like Uber and Lyft, and universal automated driving.

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That moller car reminds me of one racer in win95 racing game where you race in diffrent canyons with flying cars/planes which had weapons and you could upgrade them

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It reminds me of the zorgmobile from the Spirou comics.

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According to wikipedia, another requirement for a practical flying car, regardless of how easy it is to pilot it, is that it cannot use open propellers, rotors or jet/rocket blasts like a conventional plane, helicopter or VTOL/STOL aircraft. What's acceptable for a military vehicle and around expendable (military) personnel, isn't necessarily acceptable inside a city or in your own backyard. Noise and overall motor size is also a consideration, given that VTOL requires way more powerful engines than a plane or gyrocopter.

So suddenly you need an engine that's both small, quiet, powerful AND "mostly harmless"....oops, in 100+ years of aviation, these have NEVER been design considerations.

Also, ever been in the cockpit of even a small single-engined plane? The pre-flight checklist is anal, to say the least, but very justifiably so. Flying a multi-engined aircraft requires new licensing and even more pre-flight checks....and stuff like the Moller Skycar or the TF-X want to cram 3 or 8 (!) motors in a ceessna-sized aircraft? Yeah right. I doubt any of them would ever pass the same pre-flight checks as even a beater crop duster plane.

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Meanwhile in Russia...



(damn, that's one kickass Russian grandpa there. I bet you that both him and the "helicopter" are vodka-powered).

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Maes said:

Also, ever been in the cockpit of even a small single-engined plane? The pre-flight checklist is anal, to say the least, but very justifiably so. Flying a multi-engined aircraft requires new licensing and even more pre-flight checks....and stuff like the Moller Skycar or the TF-X want to cram 3 or 8 (!) motors in a ceessna-sized aircraft? Yeah right. I doubt any of them would ever pass the same pre-flight checks as even a beater crop duster plane.



Seriously, all these things seem to only have one purpose: to separate gullible fools from their money.

As you point out, the technical obstacles are nearly impossible to solve.

Well, maybe when they'll be able to put a fusion reactor into a car...

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Graf Zahl said:

Well, maybe when they'll be able to put a fusion reactor into a car...


Very good point. The flying car, the jetpack, personal spaceplanes, fully autonomous robots etc. and other similarly energy-hungry applications that were postulated in the 20th century, were based in no small part on the great energy-based and engineering discoveries of the recent past (electricity, chemistry, oil refining, nuclear energy, space exploration..) and the expectation that energy supplies would be cheap and plentiful in the future too, and motors/generators would become pretty much miniature nuclear reactors that could be installed in every car, plane, home, toy etc....the so called "atomic age" and the golden years of the "space race", in a word held in an uneasy equilibrium by the Cold War.

But this is all now surpassed by the real-world events, which led to much more underwhelming advances in those areas (practically, they were stalled after the end of the Cold War) and the focus shifted on "low intensity" electronics, computers, telcos etc. and a lot of goddamn internet marketing. Much more "virtual" than tangible technologies.

Interestingly, Fallout's world is based on the premise that rather than electronics, computers and communications, science and research focused on energy storage and production instead, with an emphasis on atomic technology, which got to the point of being actually implementable in portable energy cells.

In any case, the flying car is dead dream, the ghost of a bygone era's vision of a future than never came to be.

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I had my diesel 407 remapped and now it fething flies.

Not sure how long I'd survive behind the wheel (yoke?) of a flying car. I'd be in heavy traffic on the ground, then go into lift off mode and fly over the queue, while flashing my lights, beeping and making rude gestures at everyone still stuck in the traffic jam.

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