Driving a flying car to solve traffic problem, photo manipulation

Flying Cars In 2023? Yes They’re Real!


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Have you wondered whether flying cars – the ones you see in sci-fi movies – exist yet? We’re happy to report to you that yes, yes they do. Considering that we now have AI that paints, writes poetry and comes up with songs – flying cars (also known as roadable aircraft) might not be all that surprising.

To be clear, flying cars are vehicles that can drive on the road and fly in the sky. They’ve been a dream of inventors for centuries, but they’ve never really taken off (pun intended). There have been many prototypes built, but none of them have been cheap enough or safe enough to be mass-produced. Yet.

Here’s what you need to know …

futuristic car flying over the city, town. Transport of the future. Aerial view. 3d rendering of roadable aircraft

The history of the roadable aircraft

The idea of a flying car has been around for centuries, with the first patent for a flying car being filed in 1843. However, it wasn’t until the early 20th century that serious attempts were made to develop a practical flying car.

There have been many different designs since but none have yet achieved widespread commercial success.

Early 20th Century flying cars

Back in the early 1900s, a man named Gustave Whitehead, who came to America as an immigrant, designed planes with wheels and engines that ran on gasoline. He made a flying car model called the no.21 in 1901, but most historians agree that it didn’t really fly like a proper plane. Some people still say it did, though, based on accounts that can’t be verified and sometimes don’t even agree with each other.

Around 1917, another aircraft designer named Glenn Curtiss made something called the Autoplane. It had a propeller at the back and different parts that you could take off, like wings and tails. It could kind of hop around, but it didn’t really fly. (Speaking of inventions that didn’t really take off, check out these 10 crazy car inventions that failed.)

Then in the 1930s, a man named Constantinos Vlachos made a prototype with a circular wing that he called a ‘tri-phibian’ vehicle. But when he was showing it off in Washington, it blew up and caught fire. 😬 He got hurt and had to spend a lot of time in the hospital.

In 1936, there was a prototype called the Autogiro Company of America AC-35. It was like a helicopter and a car mixed together. They tested it (it flew) and even drove it through the streets of Washington, but it didn’t go into production. Would you get into this thing??

Late 20th Century flying cars

Moving on to later in the 1900s, some designs managed to take off, but they didn’t become popular. One of the better-known ones was the 1949 Taylor Aerocar.

In the 1940s, a car-plane combo called the Fulton FA-2 Airphibian came onto the scene. It was made to switch between being a car and a plane, and even famous American aviator, author and inventor Charles Lindbergh gave it a go. It didn’t really catch on, but it’s now in a museum.

Another interesting one was the Mizar, which was made by joining the back of a plane with a car. Unfortunately, it didn’t work out well and ended up crashing, killing the inventor and pilot …

21st Century flying cars

Nowadays, in the 2000s, there are still people trying to make flying cars happen. In 2009, the US started a $65 million program called Transformer to create a four-person roadable aircraft. It didn’t work out and they cancelled it in 2013.

Another roadable aircraft during this time was the Parajet Skycar, which uses a sort of parachute for lift and can drive on the ground too. Then there’s the Maverick Flying Dune Buggy, designed to fly over tough terrain. And the Plane Driven PD-1 Roadable Glastar, which is a plane-car combo with folding wings. Not to mention the Aeromobil (choose between a 2-seater and 4-seater), whose CEO want to start “an Uber of the sky”.

Behold, the AirCar

In 2021, a company in Slovakia made a prototype of a car that can fly called the AirCar. A two-seater, it was designed by Professor Stefan Klein, who has been working on flying cars since the late 1980s. This very cool vehicle even got certified as an aircraft in 2022, gaining a Certificate of Airworthiness from the Slovak Transport Authority, but it needs approval as a road vehicle before it’s roadworthy.

In an interview earlier in 2023, Klein said the AirCar will be available around the world for consumer purchase “within the next year”, but unsurprisingly only licensed pilots will be eligible to actually fly it. Depending on factors like avionics – the electronic flight control systems fitted in an aircraft – it will cost anywhere between US$500,000 and $1 million to purchase. 

Watch the video below to see it in action.

What’s next?

While there’s been a long history of people trying to create flying cars, and some designs have taken off, none have really become a big hit so far. A couple of big reasons (more further down) – not many of us are pilots nor do we have the $$$ required.

Although the likelihood of flying cars becoming part of our homes in the next couple of years is extremely remote, we can see the potential for commercial passenger operations to kick off quite soon. Joby Aviation is one example – it plans to launch its “aerial ridesharing service” by 2025.

Will there be flying cars in 2025? 

As mentioned, there have been some successful and not-so-successful roadable vehicles around since the 1900s. If you’re wondering whether flying cars will be widely available like normal cars are … that’s a different question.

Yes, there are a number of companies working on flying car designs and some of them have already received regulatory approval. However, there are still a number of challenges that need to be addressed before flying cars will become widespread, such as safety regulations, infrastructure, and public acceptance.

What’s holding us back?

Here are some of the challenges:

  • Because flying cars need to meet the same safety regulations as airplanes and helicopters, a lot of testing and research is still needed.
  • Flying cars will need to be able to take off and land in designated areas. This will require the construction of new airports and helipads.
  • There is a lot of public scepticism about flying cars. People are concerned about the safety of flying cars and the environmental impact.

Despite these challenges, there’s still great hope for the future of flying cars. The technology is advancing rapidly, and there’s a growing demand for personal transportation solutions that lighten road traffic. If the challenges can be addressed, commercially available flying cars could easily become a reality in the near future!

In fact, we dare to say it’s a given.

How much does a roadable aircraft cost?

The cost of a flying car can vary significantly depending on factors like the technology used, design, features, and manufacturer.

Like the AirCar we covered above, models could start at hundreds of thousands to over a million dollars. This will change as the technology advances and such cars becomes more mainstream.

Here are some examples of the cost of different flying cars:

Speaking of car prices, check out these 5 luxury cars you wish you owned. And if you’re into new tech, check out our article on cool new and future car technology as well as simple car technology you should be using.

Insurance for your non-flying car

Unfortunately, PD doesn’t cover flying cars just yet … but chances are we DO cover your car.

PD Insurance is an award winning car insurance provider with cover that gives you a soft landing. We offer financial protection and peace of mind, covering you against potential accidents, theft and damage. (If you’ve got pets, we cover them too!)

Why not get a quick quote today?

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