Being caught in traffic is a bane of our urban existence. Cars seem to multiply in numbers every single day. Studies have revealed that driving in heavy traffic can have an adverse effect on health and leads to unpleasant incidents of road rage. There have been many solutions forthcoming, but none have been implemented practically.
As fancy as it sounds, a car that can transform into a lightweight aircraft and take to the skies may just be the practical solution that will ease traffic woes in our country. The Flying Car is not an imagined concept but very much a finished automobile that can be purchased by the consumer. Born out of the fertile minds of a group of MIT graduates, the car-cum-airplane can transform from a four-wheel drive to a Light Sport aircraft in 30 seconds.
At the heart of the shape-shifting vehicle is a powerful, multifunctional 100 hp engine that uses a four-cylinder mechanism to thrust the car above 65 miles per hour and propel the aircraft at 115 miles per hour. The Flying Car has a 23-gallon fuel tank that provides an economical 35 miles per gallon for the car and 425 nautical mile range for the aircraft. The user could easily fly between Long Island and Martha’s Vineyard without a pit stop for fuel.
The lightweight body of the car-cum –airplane is fashioned from the lightest and strongest material including carbon fiber, titanium, and aluminum. The design of the Flying Car is a combination of automobile and airplane design. The front portion resembles a car’s chassis with a two-seater cockpit. The chassis gently morphs into tail fins of an aircraft, which form the rear portion of the vehicle.
To build a body that converts from a car to an aircraft is relatively easy when compared to designing the control panel of the vehicle. The difficulty lies in constructing a steering system that can control both, the automobile and plane, without too much difficulty. This is something the MIT graduates have pulled off with élan.
A touch screen LCD aids flight navigation while dual pedals and a joystick manage the flight control: dual rudders, ailerons, and the stabilator. If the user wishes to drive the car instead of taking to the skies, a steering wheel, accelerator, and brake control would give them total control of the vehicle.
The Flying Car currently retails at a pricy $350,000. It could be a while before the average Joe could afford to fly, rather than crawl to work.