Two fatal aircraft accidents in one week should be enough to convince anyone that a Los Angeles with flying cars will never exist.
On Friday night, a lightweight helicopter hit overhead power lines and crash landed in a fiery wreck on the 110 Freeway, killing the pilot. Just five days before, on January 20th, a pair of small private planes collided, killing five, including one man on the ground (who, ironically, was a car salesman).
In practical terms, the number of similar accidents will go up with the rate of the number of additional airborne vehicles, and dramatically so. Imagine daily news reports of not just mid-air collisions, but the destruction of homes and buildings as flying cars drop from the sky.
Some engineers and scientists are, in fact, already developing infrastructure that could support flying cars, but considering our government can’t even design a voting machine that works I have little faith. Some of these plans include auto-piloted vehicles that work in tandem with a computerized tracking system that would make the scale of our current air traffic control system pale by comparison.
Other issues that make flying cars a pipe dream: increased noise pollution (as if hovering LAPD and news choppers weren’t annoying as is), and landing spaces that would put parking spots form SUVs to shame. Wing based flying cars wouldn’t just need landing pads, but runways.
The bummer with all this is that an actual flying car isn’t far off – just take a peek at Jalopnik or Google “flying cars” and you’ll run across dozens of companies boasting that they’ve either built a working flying car, or one will be released in the coming year. But what government or agency (local, state or federal) would want to accept the liability for any system put into place that would be likely to fail?