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Surprising Science

The Flying Car Is Here!

European and American companies have successfully tested new prototypes of flying cars. So how soon will you be able to lift yourself out traffic jams and fly home? That may depend on regulation.  

What’s the Latest Development?

The Dutch company PAL-V has announced that its flying car has completed its maiden voyage and will be sold to the public in 2014. Called PAL-V One, the car uses rotary blades to achieve altitude and is pushed forward by a another blade at its rear. Meanwhile, the American company Terrafugia said this week that its flying car, named Transition, will debut at the New York International Show and be ready for sale sometime next year at a starting price of $279,000. One hundred people have already ordered Transition, each making a $10,000 down payment. 

What’s the Big Idea?

Will flying cars ever rule the road (and the sky)? If they do, will everyone have to get a pilot’s license? Regulatory agencies like the FAA have yet to fully comprehend what flying vehicles would mean for individual transportation. Terrafugia, however, sees its flying car as a modification on the airplane, rather than the car, giving established pilots more options to take off and land from smaller regional airports. Robert Dingemanse, CEO of PAL-V, says his company’s flying vehicle has been designed to meet conditions of existing international rules for both flying and driving. 

Photo credit: PAL-V


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