There go my dreams of the flying car.

Imagine this sucker crashlanding into your living room.

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?

8 Replies to “There go my dreams of the flying car.”

  1. Put Daimler, Honda, BMW or Toyota on the project it would work. The govt just plants seeds and some funding and then they run with it.

    Those likely would start in the hands of the wealthier citizens until someone can make them en mass and affordable in the vein of the Model A or a Corolla.

    I’d be more worried about falling debris when they start whacking each other like they do on the ground now in parking lots and freeways.

    The biggest hurdle will be fuel efficiency as it takes a lot more energy to get it airborne and keep it there than simply rolling on the ground. With more energy consumed, if its carbon based we are still going to have to worry about CO2 emissions.

  2. Robert and Fraz: The point of the post isn’t that flying cars aren’t possible – like I said, they practically already exist – but that they wouldn’t be safe to use in a metropolis.

  3. I know David, I agreed with you in my 3rd sentence. I just see other issues bigger to keep them from being practical right now.

  4. I definitely think personal flying machines are the best option for transportation in the future. Personal vehicles have been a raging success, with only 40,000+ deaths per year. I think once people take to the air things will only get better. If we could lose 100,000 people a year that would kick ass. The personal automobile has revolutionized the built environment with the fact that they need incredible amounts of space to drive and park… imagine how much asphalt we could add when every building needs its own runway and parking hangars. And of course, personal air travel will allow sprawl to live up to its name. Finally Bakersfield can become the exurb of Los Angeles it was meant to be.

  5. I, too, have held this dream since the 1964 World’s Fair. But it occurred to me while reading this that I don’t really want to live UNDER a highway. Falling parts on my lawn, oil dripping on my head, collisions splashing into my pool. Not to mention the dirt and exhaust settling on everything. On second thought, that’s not much different than living near the 10 now ;-)

  6. I’m not seeing how the fact that the fifth victim was a car salesman is ironic in this situation. Does no one understand what irony is!? DAMN YOU ALANIS MORISSETTE!

  7. The personal flying machine for the masses, flown in and around metropolitan areas, is <BOOMING VOICE> The Transportation System Of The Future!

    Always has been. Always will be.

    :-)

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