Since the dawn of aircraft, man’s desire for innovation has fuelled countless attempts to create more exciting and laudable feats of engineering. An ongoing dream of producing a flying car, for example, has inspired inventors both fictitious (Caractacus Potts in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang or Arthur Weasley’s flying Ford Anglia, anyone?) and in real life–Glenn Curtiss with the Curtiss Autoplane in 1917. It is a dream that has long continued to inspire yet elude.
Until maybe now.
On the 24 April, a startup by the name of Kitty Hawk caused a stir in the media after releasing footage of a flying machine prototype, known as the ‘Flyer’, being tested in a secret location. Backed by Google co-founder Larry Page, the device resembles a hoverbike with a series of drone-like propellers, designed to run purely on electricity and features controls so easy to use that anyone could learn to fly it in minutes.
Kitty Hawk explains that the Flyer is considered an ‘Ultralight’ by the Federal Aviation Administration so you don’t need a pilot’s licence to operate one. However, before you get ideas of beating the traffic in your daily commute, the company states that the Flyer is only to be used over water and in uncongested areas.
Plans for deliveries of this ‘personal flying machine’ this year have been announced, so could be with us sooner than we think!
Not the only ones keen on the idea of an airborne automobile, advanced engineering visionaries Aeromobil recently unveiled a new model of its flying car at the Top Marques show in Monaco.
The prototype is definitely more ‘souped up’ than that of Kitty Hawk’s. With an ultra-stylish exterior and a swish leather-clad interior, its key features include advanced controls and avionics in both Fly and Drive mode, and the ability to transform fully into flight mode in less than 3 minutes!
What are your thoughts on flying cars? Geared towards the future or just plane crazy?