PREDICTION OF FLYING CARS IN TWO YEARS
In the near future, we expect to see flying cars; a dream of Americans since aviation commenced. There is a company called Terrafugia, based in Massachusetts, making car-plane hybrids. This hybrid is referred to as the Transition, which is an FAA- approved airplane since it has wings that fold out. It is planned to be ready by 2016 and its cost will be approximately $279,000.
Yes, technology can easily come up with these flying cars but of most importance is the people’s reaction. The risks associated with this technology will have to be weighed against the benefits. Some of the risks include
- The danger of many people who will be flying overhead; some of whom may be less experienced pilots.
- Weather hazards hence the travelers have to choose to either use air or road, hence the travelers have to make a decision.
The Transition’s features and its pilots
The Transition will be used on the roads, in the air and it will be able to fit into a single-car garage. It can be used by those with a driving license.
While in town, during the morning hours, one has to drive it to one of the approximately 5,000 airports in the country, for him/her to convert it to flying mode, since it may be impossible to fly it across the town.
For one to take off, they need to have a sports pilot’s license.
Regardless its weight, the transition has been acknowledged as a Light Sport Aircraft (LSA) by the FAA. A pilot requires only 20 hours to be able to operate an LSA.
There is a risk of crashes that happen regularly due to amateur pilots. A report by National Transport and Safety Board 2012, it was observed that in the year 2010, 96%, 97% and 96% of all accidents, fatal accidents and total fatalities of all U.S civil aviation respectively, were as a result of general aviation accidents.
Another risk that may be posed by the pilots is that the number of fliers, some of whom are infrequent fliers. They usually do little/less flying and hence are less proficient and are not up-to-date with the skills and practice. They become a liability to themselves as pilots and also to the rest of the fliers.
It is expected that part-time fliers will buy the transition. 25% of the people buying the transition are usually not necessarily pilots.
The transition helps people get to the different places that they want to, within a short while, in order to be able to achieve their plans.
The Transition has safety features and conversion ability. It is also easy to use. This greatly helps reduce pilot errors. It can be easily used, it flies itself off the ground and when in air it is like a cruiser of an airplane.
The rare features
- Automotive safety technology
FAA has greatly supported Terrafugia in bringing automotive safety Technology to the general aviation industry. The Transition has a safety cage, a crumple zone and airbags for both the drivers and passengers.
Since the automotive-safety pieces need more weight, the Transition will weigh above the standard LSA.
- Synthetic vision
This shows a terrain around the flight through a computer-generated image. This is very useful during foggy periods
- rocket-deployed parachute
The Transition has a rocket-deployed parachute that can support the whole vehicle. In case of an emergency, one only needs to pull the handle and immediately the rocket shoots out, enabling the vehicle glide to the floor.
Decision making is of most importance since the pilot will have to consider and choose whether to drive of fly the transition. The transition will be of great to recreational pilots since they will earn an income out of the Transition while showing people what the whole technology is all about.
The delay in presenting the Transition to the public has been due to delay in financing during the year 2008, due to economic downturn and also due to technicalities experienced while undertaking design changes during the development and testing stage.
One may argue that the Transition is not a good car, more especially that it is not a good airplane. Technology has seen the development of the TF-X, a hybrid electric flying car.
Its features include: electric ground drive, electric power assist on vertical takeoff, fixed wings and automated learning. It is designed to fly at 200mph in, at most, 20 seconds. It is less noisy since it uses specially designed electric motors for VTOL.
The number of hours needed training as its pilot will be less than 5 hours.