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The Flying Car Future Was Decades Ago?

Flying Car Thoughts...

By David BrandyPublished 2 years ago 5 min read
Klein Vision "Aeromobil 1" 1998, Photo Credit Klein-vision.com

When you were a kid, did you and your friends ever ask each other what kind of animal you would want to be? Did you have a go-to answer? I did. It was always the peregrine falcon. Because more than anything, I wanted to fly.

Peregrine Falcon, Photo Credit ebird.org

Why that specific animal? Why not just the generic answer "bird"? Well, this falcon in particular is actually the fastest bird on the planet. With a maximum diving speed of 240 mph, this bird is also the fastest animal on this planet. Here's the twist...

I'm afraid of heights.

Yet I still want to go to space, I am definitely going to skydive one day, and if you could go back in time... You just might be able to see childhood me trying to fly by jumping and flapping my arms. I don't know what makes me want to fly when I am afraid of heights, but something does.

I guess I shouldn't be surprised that this strange urge to leave the ground has followed me into adulthood. The urge just comes to me at different times. One of which is when I am driving over bridges.

Quick disclaimer... Please... Please... PLEASE... Don't try anything you read in this insane article at home or anywhere. What I will be describing is not only stupid but so stupid that I won't even be trying it. So please, read responsibly.

I knew that cars can fly... wait, did you know cars can fly? It's true! This is a real problem for Formula 1 cars. The wings on the back aren't just for show, they produce downforce for the vehicle so that it will... stay on the ground! I don't have a Formula 1 car for many reasons, their 12.2 million dollar price tag being one. Did you know that their tires alone cost about $2700?!

Formula 1 Car, Photo Credit formula1.com

Where was I? Oh yes, having car envy... I drive an ugly brown 2007 Toyota Corolla. Although she is no Formula 1 racer, I love her to bits. No wait, I was telling you that cars fly. Check out this quote from one of my all-time favorite books;

"The bottom line is that at somewhere in the range of 150-300 mph, a typical sedan will lift off the ground, tumble, and crash ..." Excerpt from "What If?: Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Questions" By Randall Munroe

This quote got me wondering... why are you reading this article and not Randall's book? I mean it is amazing and the sequel comes out this month! Wow, I keep getting distracted, thank goodness I don't have a boss telling me what to write about.

Seriously though, I started to wonder if I could actually fly my little brown baby Yota. This is crazy, right? Cars don't actually fly, right? Meet the Klein Vision AirCar .

Klein Vision AirCar, Photo Credit BBC News

A few things might come as a shock. First of all, this company has been making flying cars since the 80s. Their first two "cars" didn't look much like cars though, as you can see from the cover picture of this article. Second, the AirCar(pictured above) has been in development since 2016 and was flown all the way back in October 2020! Link down below for the website, there is a video of it flying and driving. Very cool stuff.

Now, I know what you're thinking, "David, you don't have an AirCar or a formula 1 racer, when are we going to talk about your Corolla taking flight?" Well, thank you for asking, voice from my fevered imagination, lets talk about lift force. At what speed would my car need to reach to actually take off?

Unfortunately, after a little bit of digging it looks like the estimate from "What If" of 150 to 300 mph is going to be the closest answer I can get. Rather it is probably on the lower end of that spectrum, the shape of the rear end of my sedan seems to produce the most amount of lift out of the three most popular shapes. See link below for more information.

So if I am not going to add retractable wings like the AirCar. Nor am I willing to take the limiter off of my engine to let it reach the speed I would need to "Lift off the ground, tumble, and crash." What does that leave me? Well what about...

Britain's Parajet Skycar Photo Credit New Atlas

... What am I looking at? Is that a dune buggy floating on a para sail with a fan on the back of it? Who created this abomination that I absolutely love? The British, in 2008. Why didn't I know more about these things? Every flying car invention I have come across in my research for this article had been made waaaay earlier than I had expected.

So not only is flying a road vehicle with a para sail possible, but it has been done. Done with a dune buggy much smaller and lighter than my 2,615 pound car. So how does this translate into something much heavier? Well, lets do the easy thing... put four of them on it.

If you head to the custom chutes inc. website(link below) you can find the largest para sail they have, the B-52. This is a 52 foot long beast of a para sail that can lift 700 pounds at only 10 mph! Since my car is only about 2,600 pounds I would only need four of these bad boys to lift off the ground.

So here is the scenario, I attach a B-52 para sail on top of the four corners of my car. Then I drive out to the base of the Midpoint Bridge, heading into Cape Coral. No one is around, it is just my idling Corolla, my insane self, four ill-fitting para sails and the open road.

Midpoint Bridge

I hit the gas, but not too hard, remember I only need to be going 10 mph to take off. I climb up the bridge at an anticlimactic speed and right before I hit the precipice I pull the string to release the four para sails and then...

What was something you wanted to do as a kid? I know my insane plan to fly my Toyota Corolla is utter nonsense, but there is something else at play here. Childhood dreams that stick around into adulthood are so important. I know that one of mine that stuck around has been a space in my life for cartharsis. Writing. An outlet I know I deeply need and love.

So I ask again, what was something you wanted to do as a kid? Is that passion still there? Whatever it is for you, as long as it is safe, healthy, and doesn't hurt anyone... take some time today.

Just maybe don't fly a car.

INFO ON FORMULA 1 AERODYNAMICS

"What If?: Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Questions" By Randall Munroe

Klein Vision Website

Experimental Data for the Validation of Numerical Methods: DrivAer Model

The Parajet Skycar: Britain's zero-carbon flying dune buggy aims for Timbouctou

Commercial Parasails

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About the Creator

David Brandy

My very first story crafting was an imaginary game that me and my two younger brothers would play when I was 12. My love of storytelling manifested itself quickly. Today I am a husband, father, and business owner.

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