back to the future with Airbus' Flying Car
The future is here. The prediction of the 1989 cult film Back to the Future Part II which envisaged a world with flying cars by 2015 was only a couple or so years off the mark. We may actually be getting closer to being able to commute to work in our very own flying car, AKA a private jet, experts have declared.
AIRBUS the civil aircraft manufacturer has revealed its flying car prototype is on track to be ready within a year. So confident are they that they've released an artist's impression of the Airbus Vahana concept.
Airbus Group chief executive Tom Enders said they are taking the futuristic prototype very seriously. Speaking at a conference in Munich, Mr Enders said:
"One hundred years ago, urban transport went underground, now we have the technological wherewithal to go above ground. We are in an experimentation phase, we take this development very seriously."
Airbus is the world’s largest maker of commercial helicopters and has advised the flying car stands to be quite cost effective.
Another prototype called the Aeromobil has a top speed of 99mph with an engine built by British engineering specialist Prodrive, is a petrol-fuelled car which works on the roads and in the air.
Designed to resemble a perfectly aerodynamic teardrop shape, the Aeromobil has a glass cockpit with an interior swathed in the “finest leather” for style and comfort.
Prodrive is accepting orders for £1.1million 2-seater car, which is 5.9meters long and 2.2meters wide.
Although cheaper than a new private jet, flying cars are not going to be cheap. And if you do not have a million or so to hand, Dutch company Pal V has created a vehicle costing less than half a million euros which converts from a motorcycle into a gyrocopter in 10 seconds.
There are other companies out there also creating cars which are capable of flying. Earlier this year an electric flying car made its maiden test flight in Germany and Japanese engineers are building small flying cars with the aim of using one to light the Olympic flame at the 2020 Games in Tokyo.
Rodin Lyasoff is the Airbus executive in charge of the project, called Urban Air Mobility, said:
“Many of the technologies needed, such as batteries, motors and avionics are most of the way there. We believe that global demand for this category of aircraft can support fleets of millions of vehicles worldwide.”
In 2010, an advanced aircraft engineer at NASA’s Langley Research Center named Mark Moore published a white paper outlining the feasibility of electric aircrafts that could take off and land like helicopters but were smaller and quieter. The vehicles would be capable of providing a speedy alternative to the dreary morning commute.
Moore’s research (PDF) into so-called VTOL—short for vertical takeoff and landing, or more colloquially, flying cars—inspired at least one billionaire technologist. After reading the white paper, Google co-founder Larry Page secretly started and financed two Silicon Valley startups, Zee Aero and Kitty Hawk, to develop the technology, Bloomberg Businessweek reported last summer.
Now Moore is leaving the confines of the U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration, where he has spent the last 30 years, to join one of Google’s rivals: Uber Technologies Inc. Moore is taking on a new role as director of engineering for aviation at the ride-hailing company, working on a flying car initiative known as Uber Elevate. “I can’t think of another company in a stronger position to be the leader for this new ecosystem and make the urban electric VTOL market real,” he says.
It's only a matter of time before SuperFly will have flying cars on its charter fleet. In the meantime the closest aircraft we can think of is the Citation Mustang, in the Very Light Jets category (VLJs). The Mustang is SuperFly's most popular choice of private jet for short haul flights.
Whilst we wait for the flying car to be approved in our driveways and skies click here for guaranteed best prices for private jet charter.
We’d love to know what Back to the Future’s time travelling scientist “Doc Brown” would make of these flying cars. We’ll leave this blog post with his infamous quote from the movie:
_“If my calculations are correct, when this baby hits 88 miles per hour... you're gonna see some serious sh_t!”