7 Reasons The Flying Car Has Issues
Well, we might not be getting our hoverboards anytime soon, but it looks as if the flying car could be on our driveway as soon as next year. This is the Terrafugia Transition®:
That’s a slice of heaven right there. The concept is undoubtedly genius. We have all been sat in traffic wishing we could take-off then and there. In reality though, the Terrafugia Transition® poses a number of problems. Seven of them.
1. Branding. We have already had a look at some of the worst product names out there and while the Terrafugia brand probably wouldn’t quite make that list, the name still worries me. ‘Terra’ obviously means ‘ground’, but I think of it just as it sounds. ‘Terror’. Would I get in a Virgin Nightmare? Or a Qantas Shock? Or a British Airways Screamer? Not a bloody chance. So would I get in a Terrafugia? Not a bloody chance. And sadly I am probably not alone. Why didn’t they call themselves Smoothflight or something equally camp, cliched and assuring?
2. Take-off. The take-off speed of this thing is apparently over 100mph. Its max speed on the ground is 62mph. I used to think I was good at maths.
3. Enough Room To Swing A 6-Iron. On the Transition® page of the Terrafugia website it gives you a list of conveniences. There are six and mostly things you’d want to hear. Rear-wheel drive and automated electromechanical folding wing being two. And then we get to the end of the list. And you start reading. And then you read it again. And again. And then you realise you are reading it correctly. You realise it does say, ‘Cargo area holds golf clubs’. Not ‘cargo area holds 50kg’ or ‘cargo area holds eight thousand pairs of pants’, but ‘cargo area holds golf clubs’! Why? Why would you do that? You have just alienated everyone who needs somewhere to put their cricket bat. Or a suitcase.
4. Landing. Maybe, just maybe, there is a reason this aircar has been designed with the discerning golfer in mind. Once you’ve taken off, you need to have somewhere to land. In fairness you could probably have worked that out for yourself, but there’s probably no harm in me helping you out. Where the hell do you land this thing though? You need a fair bit of room. You might get squashed by a 747 at Gatwick and fields might be a bit bumpy. The last thing you need is a scarecrow entering your cockpit. So the obvious alternative therefore are the lush, smooth fairways of a nearby golf-course.
5. Dizzy. There are naughty people around. Naughty people who steal wing mirrors. I don’t think they would need too much convincing to nick a non-mirrored wing. The problem is though, just as you might not notice a missing wing-mirror when you get in the car, you might not notice a missing wing. You’d end up flying around in circles.
6. Time. This is a bit like the Aesop fable, The Tortoise and The Hare. Just a modern version for modern times. The Hare is the plane. It’s clearly quicker. As the crow flies, it would get from A to B in twice or thrice the speed of the car. But only if it was a crow. The problem is that the plane needs to use an airfield to take-off and land (they’re not really allowed to land on Royal St. George’s). Which means first the plane has to be a car to drive from A to an airfield. Then it can do its funky flying bit. Only its funky flying bit will take it to an airfield miles away from B. Then the plane needs to be a car again. Meanwhile the car can be a car and get stuck on the M40, M25 and M23 and still beat the plane (which is now a car) back to B. It kind of defeats the object of having a propeller.
7. Always Take The Weather With You. The manufacturers advise you not to fly if the weather is inclement. I can go down to Poundland (and ask someone to go inside for me) and get a kite for £1. A kite flies beautifully in inclement weather. I would therefore expect a £180,000 aircar to fly 180,000 times more beautifully in inclement weather, not crash to the earth because it got whacked by a hailstone. Unbelievable.