I’ve always hated traffic. As a passenger, it’s tedious: no scenery changes, no sense that you’re actually making progress. And as a driver, it’s just stressful. As a result, just about everyone has fantasized about how nice it would be to just fly above all the gridlock in flying cars. In my daydreams, wings would unfold from within the doors of the car, shoving away traffic on either side, and we would launch straight up like a helicopter. This dream stayed dormant for a long time, but recently, a video I saw jogged my memory of childhood car rides through traffic, and here is my childhood dream come to life.
The Transition is a hybrid plane-car, with retractable wings that are as convenient for using as lowering or raising the top on your car convertible is. This plane-car has an 100 mph cruising speed and a 400 mile range, making your daily commute a whole lot easier. It has a steering wheel and gas/break pedals just like a normal car for the driver’s convenience, but also has a stick and rudder pedals for flight. Additionally, the Transition is a fully functional car; it gets 36 mpg on the road and has all the safety features of a standard land-bound vehicle. This may sound futuristic, but there are already 6 of these out of the streets. However, they do require a runway to takeoff, so the Transition may not be the most practical for a short distance commute. If you’re interested in reserving one of the next Transition’s as an alternative to hitting the commuter terminal, or even just for recreational fun, they are selling for around $300,000.
This design is for the Terrafugia TF-X, which is the second line of hybrid air and land vehicles - it fixes the main problem with the original Terrafugia Transition because the TF-X flies with two helicopter rotors, which allows it to take off straight up - eliminating the need for a runway. Second, the TF-X has computer controlled flight - the TF-X will land for you, but for safety the pilot can override the computer. Finally, this model will have an increased cruise speed (predicted up to 200 mph) and will have a nonstop range of approximately 500 miles. The downside is the TF-X is still in the developmental stage, and won’t be available for 8-12 years.
Final thoughts on flying cars: these hybrids are predicted to be statistically safer to commute in than the standard car, will be capable of automatically avoiding other air traffic and bad weather, and will still have all the safety features of a standard car. The Terrafugia Transition and TF-X open the door to the next stage of human transportation. Next time you’re stuck in traffic, imagine cruising through the sky in one of these futuristic hybrids.
About the Author: Stephanie Davis
Stephanie is a high school senior from California, USA.