There was a time, some time ago, when practically every little boy, especially the ones reading every single Tom Swift novel, thought, “by the time I grow up, there will be colonies on the moon and regular trips to Mars – oh, and flying cars“. Sadly, that future is here and as the common complaint goes, “where’s my flying car?” Forget the moon colonies; forget Mars trips.
Despite the paucity of moon colonies and flying cars, there are a lot of cool things out there besides personal submarines – how about jet packs? Almost got that one covered, and I’m not talking about this:
Sean Connery as Jame Bond, 007 in the movie Thunderball using a jetpack – as well he should!
I’m talking about this one, currently in advanced development, and it really works!
This is the Martin Jetpack which has been under intense development for 30 years and should be in limited commercial production in 2016 – and Martin already has purchase orders from first responders and the Department of Homeland Security. It has been test flown to 5000 ft, can operate for 30 minutes on a tank of gasoline – yeah like premium from the gas-station (!) , can fly like 47 mph, and is totally awesome. It is for real.
Check out this you-tube of the 5000 ft test flight: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SHPedpE70Es
Flying cars? We’re making headway, but stop and think about it a bit. Cars, essentially contradict the most basic requirements of flight as we know it. Flight, like as in aeroplane flight, requires…well, it requires wings – and the heavier the payload, the bigger the wings needed. So… a flying car, if it was at all car-like, would need to be first-off, not at all like the monstrosity jacked-up four-wheel drives I see the craftworkers, contractors and wannbees driving up the 101 every morning. No, the car portion of the flying car would have to be, for an automobile, modest.
Photo from: http://www.markbrake.com/sci-fi/machine/flying-cars/ – Check out his blog; nice write up on flying cars, etc.
Actually, I’d like to have just the car part! I mean look at it. What a stylin’ ride! But I’d lower it and put on different tires. Same moonie hub-caps though. They rock. Make sure they’re chromed. I’d put some super-high intensity headlights but keep the look exactly the same. I love that car!
But look at the aeroplane part, it would be a nightmare to park. And kind of weird to drive in a windstorm. Imagine you are out here in Arizona, driving your flying car down Mill Avenue, you know, showing off for the college girls at ASU, (they would dig that car, I think it’s a Peugeot or something French) when in comes a big dust storm. Next stop, the land of Oz!
Well, there’s an update on the flying car:
Coutesy Gizmag: http://www.gizmag.com – a rockin’ good website.
And it passes the sniff test – it really flies. Check out the promo video; I did. See in the beginning how they are panning around the vehicle and you know the pilot / driver is going to show up momentarily. Seriously, when I saw this the first thing that came to my mind was, “OK, what is the pilot going to look like?” I guessed either a super-hot female in a (tasteful but super hot) jumpsuit; or an old guy. I was hoping for the old guy…and it was the old guy! Old guys rock! No way could it have been a young, virulent man. This thing, while quite well done IMHO, still looks way, way to weird; and the only human factors I could figure out would be the old guy, or the hottie. Sound track is pretty good too. Now that I’ve totally ruined it for you, definitely watch it. It’s beautiful in flight. Eye-catching, but admit it, it’s a bit silly-looking as a car
I’m holding out for something more like this:
I can dream, can’t I?
The Martin Jet pack was developed in my country – New Zealand. Cool. We also invented a few other neat things including a high performance amphibian. Flying car? Not much. The problem that has always crippled them is that the engineering demands of a good car and of a good plane are mutually exclusive. And is one really the ‘natural progression’ of the other? I figure cars and planes do quite different things. Me? I miss the moon bases, manned Mars flights and the rest we were supposed to have by 2000 at latest…
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Thanks for stopping by!
Yes, “Flying car? Not much. The problem that has always crippled them is that the engineering demands of a good car and of a good plane are mutually exclusive.
You nailed it – you found very efficient words to capture what I was whimsically alluding to in my post. Until we find some way to conquer gravity, anything man-made that flies will feature some sort of gravity defying mechanism – right now, wings, jets, fans; and jets and fans are loud, failure unrecoverable, and wings get big. So flying cars actually degenerate into flying machines that taxi well.
To fly, we get planes – prop and jet – and helicopters, excluding the extremely barbaric rocket. The Martin I guess by this definition is a sort of mini-copter. But it is just amazingly well packaged and executed and I am doubly impressed that it is very close to commercialization. I love products nicely done – I am a mechanical design engineer by trade.
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I agree about the flying cars – that’s a great way of putting it, ‘flying machines that taxi well’. As I understand it the Martin jet-pack is indeed, effectively, a mini-copter, pretty much the helicopter equivalent of a microlight. It’s been under development a while. I find it intriguing that this sort of thing emerges in NZ. We have the repute of being farmers who fix things with No.8 fencing wire – and yet the place seems to breed engineers who make a small and often quirky but also significant contribution to the world. The Hamilton Jet is another one.
Can I put the Audi A10 Hovercraft on order please?