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Thread: China Bails Out Another GA Longtime Start-up

  1. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cary View Post
    All of the flying car idioms have been less than successful, even when they've built an actual flying version. The Terrafugia is probably as "successful" as any--at least, it's not necessary to trailer part of it, a la Moulten Taylor's Aerocar, when on the ground. But it's still a bastard design, being neither a very good car nor a very good airplane. And that's the story of all of them, that they all have fallen way short of being good at either. Even for those who have the excess money to buy that sort of toy, paying more than a quarter mil for something that drives like a grocery cart and flies like a semi-aerodynamic brick is hard to justify.

    Cary
    IMHO the problem is the desire to make a flying "car". The car is highly developed and adapted to today's environment. A flying car can never complete on performance with the car or with the airplane. What is needed is a roadable aircraft and/or a flying roadable. It needs to improve in areas that today's cars do not operate and today's aircraft generally ignore, and it needs to do that for less than a million dollars per copy.

    Combine a single seat aircraft practical for a trip of thirty miles or less and a bicycle capable of a 30 mile trip in less than an hour and you will have a nitche market unless it costs $100,000 per copy.

  2. #12
    DaleB's Avatar
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    I think there are other reasons that efforts to produce and sell "flying cars" are destined to fail, at least until some time in the not-immediate future. For one thing, if you're looking to sell flying cars, your target customer is not a pilot -- it's a commuter. The only real reason to have a flying car is for long commutes... lengthy trips that you make every day, or close to it. In most areas, for something to be practical in that role it would need to be able to make the trip in all weather. No matter if it's day or night; winds, rain, snow, whatever. Otherwise you have something as practical as a scooter or motorcycle. While there are people who commute via motorcycle, it's a pretty small number -- and motorcycles don't cost upward of $100K or require a pilot's license to operate. If you have that kind of money to spend on something that can only be used in fair weather, then you're going to drive to work and fly on the weekends. And of course you can't land anything (until we have working small VTOL ships) in a parking lot, so even if you have a workable flying car you'll still need an airport on both ends of your trip.

    Now add in the fact that it takes copious amounts of time, effort, money, motivation and yes, brain power to get the training and certification needed to operate an airborne conveyance without killing yourself and breaking things, and even then it's a thing that carries a higher risk than most people are going to be comfortable with.

    In my humble opinion... it can work, WHEN the vehicles are operable in most or all conditions, and are automated to the point where you get in, sit down and snooze while the machine takes you to wherever you're going. That day is coming, maybe even before we all are tree food, but it's certainly not here yet. Cars are getting a lot closer every year; I can drive through town in my wife's Volvo and rarely if ever touch the gas or brake pedals. Some others will do most of the actual driving for you. Give it another ten years and the idea of driving your own car will seem a little quaint to most people. But until the "flying car" gets there, ventures like Terrafugia are interesting engineering exercises that may advance the art somewhat, but are highly unlikely to achieve any degree of commercial success.
    Measure twice, cut once...
    scratch head, shrug, shim to fit.

  3. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by jedi View Post
    IMHO the problem is the desire to make a flying "car". The car is highly developed and adapted to today's environment. A flying car can never complete on performance with the car or with the airplane. What is needed is a roadable aircraft and/or a flying roadable. It needs to improve in areas that today's cars do not operate and today's aircraft generally ignore, and it needs to do that for less than a million dollars per copy.

    Combine a single seat aircraft practical for a trip of thirty miles or less and a bicycle capable of a 30 mile trip in less than an hour and you will have a nitche market unless it costs $100,000 per copy.
    I think you are spot on, Jedi.

  4. #14

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    There was an EAA designer that built a powered parachute/three wheel bicycle combo that flew and could also be motored down the road (or pedaled). Several decades ago, I think. In Sport Aviation archives, I don't know where.

  5. #15
    choppergirl's Avatar
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    I kind of would like to buy some defunct famous Aircraft manufacturer name from like the olden days... like for a token $1 or something. Something that was out on the forefront in its day and made a name for itself, but hopelessly gone forever now. You can find stock certificates for sale on ebay of some of them...
    CHOPPERGIRL@AIR-WAR.ORG ~ Dorothy ~ Alice ~ Flying with Christina ~ Unchained Melody ~ Titanium ~ Follow Me ~ Like This ~ Apparition
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    Disobedience is the true foundation of liberty. By definition, those that obey, must be slaves.

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