The New Flying Car Is The Ride For Me

by Kevin Burton

   Many of my blind friends have talked about getting a self-driving car. I have not been real interested…until now.

   Why the change? Monday I found out that in Slovakia, cars can fly. 

   I don’t mean just go zoom-zoom fast. I mean literally take to the sky. 

   This is according to the BBC, the World’s best news organization. That’s good enough for me. 

   “A flying car capable of hitting speeds over 100 mph and altitudes above 8,000 feet has been issued with a certificate of airworthiness by the Slovak Transport Authority,” The BBC wrote Monday.

   “The hybrid car-aircraft, AirCar, is equipped with a BMW engine and runs on regular petrol-pump fuel. It takes two minutes and 15 seconds to transform from car into aircraft. The AirCar takes off and lands like a conventional plane and requires a pilot’s license to fly.”

   “The certification followed 70 hours of flight testing and more than 200 take-offs and landings,” the BBC wrote. There is a cool video that shows the transformation from airworthy plane to roadworthy motor vehicle. Sign me up!

   All the who-is-going-to-insure-these-things questions I have applied to earthbound self-driving cars, apply even more to the AirCar, be they piloted or self-driving.  But I’m no longer listening to all that.  Hands over my ears, la-la-la-la-la. I can’t hear yooooooou.

   Gotta get me an AirCar. That’s the ride.

   As for the pilot’s license, I’m planning to test out of that by using some combination of Wikihow, Google and You Tube videos to help me learn. Anyway, with very few commuters and almost nothing to bump into in the air, how much trouble could I get into?

     Let history record here, that my wife Jeannette has become the very first skeptic of the legally-blind Kev drives an AirCar idea. She said something about “keeping my feet on the ground.”  Well, this is the beginning of our discussion, not the end. The AirCars aren’t ready for the market yet anyway. I’ve got time to convince her.

   “AirCar certification opens the door for mass production of very efficient flying cars,” said Professor Stefan Klein who is the AirCar creator, leader of the development team and the test pilot.  “It is official and the final confirmation of our ability to change mid-distance travel forever.”

     “In June, the flying car completed a 35-minute flight between international airports in Nitra and Bratislava, Slovakia. Klein said a London-to-Paris flight is being planned for the near future.”

   “Dr. Steve Wright, senior research fellow in avionics and aircraft systems at the University of the West of England, said the news was ‘a good step down the road’ for Klein’s company and made him ‘cautiously optimistic that I am going to see a few AirCars one day – but I think there is still a way to go,’” the BBC wrote.

   That’s fine. By the time the AirCar is ready for the market, I will be ready for the AirCar. Make mine silver and blue.

   Of course I am dead familiar with flying cars. The first movie I ever saw, when our family lived in Bermuda, was “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang,”  I don’t remember anything except the car flew and the movie was long and had this evil music you couldn’t get out of your head once you heard it. It’s still there after 50 years!

   Wikipedia says the movie is 2 hours 25 minutes in length, which is too long for a child of any age. Anyway, you could have skipped the alleged plot and gotten right down to the car.

   “Other companies are also developing vehicles that can fly and be driven on the roads. The three-wheeled PAL-V Liberty, which flies like a gyrocopter, is road legal in Europe and working towards European Union Aviation Safety Agency certification,” the BBC wrote.

   How close are we to personal flying vehicles?

   Dr. Wright is cautious about how much mass appeal flying cars may have. “Are flying cars the future? Yes… and no,” he said. “The personal-transport revolution is definitely coming but not really looking like this. From a transport point of view, it has a niche – although, a very interesting niche.”

   “A number of companies are working on unpiloted air-taxi services with autonomous flight and vertical landing and take-off,” the BBC writes.

“Promoters hope they will be a convenient and flexible form of transport – and some are attracting significant investment.”

   “Boeing announced on Monday it was investing an additional $450 million into Wisk, the California-based autonomous-air-taxi company it owns with Kitty Hawk, a company launched by Google co-founder Larry Page.”

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