Where The Hell Are The Flying Cars? It's The 21st Century!

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Cochise,

Yes, you are correct. Here are the important bits from the CAA.

How much training will you need?
Everyone differs in their learning ability. Legally you require a minimum of 40 hours of training. Of these 40 hours at least 15 hours must be under dual instruction and at least 10 must be flown solo under the supervision of an instructor. The other 15 hours can be dual or solo as required. These are minimum requirements but a student with good aptitude, enthusiam and dedication should expect to train for between 40 and 50 hours.

Looks pretty expensive to me.

INT21

A pedant writes, if only to agree with Cochise and INT21 on this point:


From a UK perspective it's a bit worse than that: the minimum for the European fixed-wing Private Pilot's Licence ( EASA PPL(A) ) is technically 45 hrs as you also need 5 hours solo cross-country flying and anyway hardly anyone passes in 45 - 55 being closer to the average and in fact many people take much, much longer - especially those who can't afford very frequent lessons and therefore tend to learn more slowly ... and so the costs mount up. You can also expect to spend £250 or so on books and materials. Radio and skills tests will cost another £300 or thereabouts, then there are nine written exams at roughly £30 each - and then you'll need to get a medical certificate...

In other words a student pilot won't see any change out of ten grand (and the rest).

However there's also the somewhat more restricted LAPL (Light Aircraft Pilot's Licence) which is slightly cheaper and requires only 30 hours in the air, but even this ain't a cheap option. Also I've no idea how the 'flying car' might fit into current (or future) licensing and safety regulations and I don't think the current syllabus even touches on the subject of electric powerplants; all the technical 'systems' stuff being about cylinders, carburettors and magnetos. A helicopter licence probably wouldn't be much help with the various machines that derive their lifting power from rotors as these would necessarily have different, simpler controls compared to a conventional chopper. In any case, learning about aerodynamics, air law, the intricacies of the various classes of controlled airspace, meteorology and so on is a serious and fairly academic commitment and therefore I've got to say the idea seems unlikely to (ho, ho) 'take off'... which would probably be for the best.

Putting aside the issue of training, there is, I suppose, the possibility of most airborne taxi-type vehicles being self-flying, but as drones (or some of the people playing with them) can be a menace and the autonomous car hasn't proved as safe as expected either these still seem some way off being certified as airworthy. An all-party parliamentary enquiry into the state of General Aviation in the UK and how to manage its future kicked off in December as the best (read: more revenue generating) way of dealing with existing private air traffic is getting various bodies' knickers in a twist even without chucking skybound mopeds into the equation.

There's an old meme, if you like, in GA: the "£100 Bacon Sandwich" - that is once you've got your expensive licence you can pick a nice day to fly to another airfield, have a cuppa and a sarnie and come home - which will be very pleasant, but you'll be a ton or so lighter in the wallet.

Of course an electric thing with a bunch of rotors on it should be cheaper to run and maintain, if not necessarily to buy, but the whole thing seems like a really bad idea to me.

At best, flying cars and amphibious cars will never be more than rich people's playthings. I suspect that most of the ones "in development" exist for one of the following purposes:

1) To generate exciting publicity for a technology firm that never really intends to produce the actual flying/amphibious car, but does want to promote its image and its mainstream products.

2) To generate a tax loss for creative accounting purposes.

3) To attract investment from the gullible, with a view to siphoning some of it off — or maybe just having a lot of fun with the project.
All good points, and quite a few people share your cynicism: it seems some company sends out a press release about their prototype - or 3D model of prototype (flight testing to start soon, on sale next spring) every month or so, and yet...

A slightly sarcastic piece in the February issue of Pilot magazine addressed the latest VTOL example of these, under development by a German start up called JETCopter, under the headline "Believe it if you will department". As aviation journalists they've heard it all before!
 

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INT21

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AlchoPwn,

..In many ways the question becomes, will peak oil mean the death of the automobile, or will cities become so congested that the gridlock can only be solved by adding a 3rd dimension ..

I suspect the answer to that problem will be further development of the 'Park and Ride' system.

Them many people will decide to drop the car completely and use the train or bus to get into town.

Either way, simply traveling about will become very expensive.

INT21.
 
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Well....a third dimension has been added in many cities thanks to the underground railway.*

As for extending upwards in relative safety...where are the monorails??

* off-topic, it's only just occurred to me that London's new Class S (?) tube trains are still manned by drivers (sorry, train operators) and should be good for forty or fifty years, so the predictions of autonomous trains putting countless humans out of work have not come to pass!
 
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INT21

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..where are the monorails ..

Same problem as any city has. You need to build in the rails (mono, or conventional Elevated (Ells) before you put in the building infrastructure.

Subways get around this to a large extent.
 
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Quite true (I had my tongue in my cheek) but monorails mightn't be a bad idea for the new eco-futuristic garden cities we apparently have to start building.
 

INT21

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Could you afford to buy or rent in a garden city ?

Or would you be one of the proles crammed into the morning commuter Maglev from a dorm town twenty miles away ?

INT21.
 
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I dunno. Isn't the idea to have a mixture of private / privately rented and social housing? We have a District Plan round here that's highly controversial and to which I haven't paid nearly enough attention in detail.

It could be just as miserable as being crammed into a groundling train twenty miles from the city (I've done my share of that) but at least the thing could whizz over the unimproved grasslands rather than ploughing through them, perhaps only startling the bees briefly :) I was thinking more of monorails within such a new city - perhaps a sort of ringway, as I'd imagine there'd be less of a distinction between residential / suburban areas and central business district.

Don't get me wrong: I'm not a fan of the idea of building on Green Belt land that's been cunningly reclassified as 'brownfield' or whatever, but I feel it may be a fait accompli in whatever form such developments eventually take.

Wasn't there a disaster movie featuring a monorail?

A supplementary question might be: "Where are the personal teleporation bracelets? It's the 21st Century".

Over to any quantum physicists on here...
 
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INT21

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More than likely. There seems to be a disaster film for every occasion.

I seriously think that if we are going to build HS2 (The fat cat express), we should go the whole hog and make it a Maglev. Or not build it at all. Just modify the conventional link.

With a clean sheet of paper and a few billion Pound you could come up with a pretty good city.

But that will not stop the population growing. and needing more cities.

INT21
 
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No, it won't.

And with the advent of Greggs' vegan sausage roll millions of Britons for whom there are no future employment prospects will be living more or less forever.

And yes, what on Earth is the point of being able to get to Birmingham twenty minutes faster at such great cost (and not just financial)?
 

INT21

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It may not be forever, but living of Vegan sausage rolls will make it seem so.

Anyway, can't call them sausage rolls. breaks EU rules.

Good job we're getting out.

INT21;)

(But if it contains 60% Vegan then it passes as a sausage)
 
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It may not be forever, but living of Vegan sausage rolls will make it seem so.

Anyway, can't call them sausage rolls. breaks EU rules.

Good job we're getting out.

INT21;)

(But if it contains 60% Vegan then it passes as a sausage)
Ha ha! Yes, good point - they've already 'cucked' by obediently reclassifying their wrongly-formulated Cornish Pasties.

I've yet to try one.

They're more of a Shelbyville idea.
Just remembered that episode. IIRC the project was not a success.
 

PeteS

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what on Earth is the point of being able to get to Birmingham twenty minutes faster at such great cost (and not just financial)?
This exactly- not one single person has been able to explain to me any comprehensible reasons for the apparent dire and costly need to get anywhere 20 minutes faster than before. No one's life is that important.
 

hunck

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This exactly- not one single person has been able to explain to me any comprehensible reasons for the apparent dire and costly need to get anywhere 20 minutes faster than before. No one's life is that important.
There was a report yesterday that due to spiralling costs [who'd a thought?] & construction overrun, to achieve opening on the projected date there may have to be less trains than projected & they may have to run slower.
 

Lb8535

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Every damn time I scroll down the list of threads with new posts I see "...Flying Cats..."
 

PeteS

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Meanwhile our local rail link to a nearby conurbation where thousands of my townsfolk have jobs is being cut as part of 'improving your services'. It all makes sense.
Same as when a certain bank closed a large number of branches and the spokesperson on the tellybox declared the closures were made to "provide more choice for customers". Utter cobblers.
 

Swifty

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If we cab go Back To The Future 2 in this thread for a moment what with the flying cars thing, NIKE are just about to release these self 'lacing' shoes ..

 
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Flying Cars as part of the Green Agenda.

In the 1960s animated sitcom The Jetsons, George Jetson commutes to work in his family-size flying car, which miraculously transforms into a briefcase at the end of the trip.

A new study of the environmental sustainability impacts of flying cars, formally known as electric vertical takeoff and landing aircraft, or VTOLs, finds that they wouldn't be suitable for a Jetsons-style short commute.

However, VTOLs -- which combine the convenience of vertical takeoff and landing like a helicopter with the efficient aerodynamic flight of an airplane -- could play a niche role in sustainable mobility for longer trips, according to the study, scheduled for publication April 9 in Nature Communications. Several companies around the world are developing VTOL prototypes.

Flying cars would be especially valuable in congested cities, or in places where there are geographical constraints, as part of a ride-share taxi service, according to study authors from the University of Michigan's Center for Sustainable Systems and from Ford Motor Co.

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/04/190409135923.htm
 

escargot

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This is not a flying car, but it's got retrofuturistic concept stamped all over it:
Had a look at the website because it's not clear how the installation works. Turns out it's mechanical but you can do it yourself -

This demonstrator is operated by motor but buildings using this technology can be counterbalanced and operated manually, quickly and easily, in any location.
So that's some nasty accidents on the cards, then. I'm willing to put money on spontaneous finger-amputations at least. It'll be the trailer-tent incident all over again.*

Can see it now -

Wife: Which bit comes out first?
Husband: It'll be this. *pulls*
Wife: Are you sure? Where did you put the manual?
Husband: Stop panicking, it's easy, we don't need the manual, just common-sense, you lift this up and this bit drops down and ARRRGH! AAARRGGHH!
Wife: :meh:

*As personally witnessed by me on campsites over the years.
 
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Cochise

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..where are the monorails ..

Same problem as any city has. You need to build in the rails (mono, or conventional Elevated (Ells) before you put in the building infrastructure.

Subways get around this to a large extent.
Monorails have a fatal flaw for most purposes, in that switches (UK, Points) between different lines are almost impossible. They are thus only suitable when there is a single line or a circuit. Around a theme park is fine, and along a narrow valley (Wuppertal) is workable. Most cities require a network and monorails cannot provide that.
 
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Good point. That hadn't even occurred to me, but it now seems very obvious. I have many doubts about this Hyperloop business ...
 
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