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No More Go-Slow! Flying Cars Are Here!

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June 30, 2016 – No More Go-Slow! Flying Cars Are Here!

An article by Tony Ogunlowo

Flying cars – they used to be the stuff of science fiction movies where every day ordinary-looking cars sprouted wings, concealed jet-engines or ducted fans took off from a road and flew away.

For over eighty years inventors have been tinkering with the idea of a practical roadable aircraft. Some flew and some didn’t and a great many didn’t make it past the drawing board. The most successful of them all, then, which actually flew, was Moulton Taylors Aerocar of 1949; it drove like an ordinary car and had detachable wings which you towed behind and affixed them once you got to an airfield.Unfortunately, despite its popularity it never made it into production.

With a flying car it means you can take –off from an airstrip, close to your home, soar over the grid-locked traffic below, land close to your destination and drive the rest of the way.

Recently there has been a renewed interest in flying cars and the new concepts fall into three distinct categories:

1, Uses folding or retractable wings.

2, Uses fold-back rotors.

3, Is suspended beneath a para-foil or ‘oblong’ parachute.

Terrafugia Transition is a 2-seater roadable aircraft that has a pair of wings that fold along its sides. For flight operation the two wings unfurl like a jet-fighter on an aircraft carrier and a pusher propeller situated in the rear propels it forward. Its small enough to fit into a home garage and can go up to 110km/h on the road.

The Aeromobil 3.0 on the other hand has wings that retract into the vehicles body, like a beetle, for road operation. When it’s ready to fly the wings slide out, aided by hydraulic mechanism and it’s powered by a pusher propeller. In the event of a mishap a ballistic parachute lowers the vehicle and the occupants safely to the ground. This( – parachute) proved to be a lifesaver when a prototype suffered a fault in 2015 and crashed saving the life of the pilot with only minor damage to the vehicle.

The next class of flying cars such as the PAL-V uses rotors rather than wings to fly. Looking very much like a mini-helicopter it works on the principle of a gyrocopter; the rotors spin around freely as a result of the vehicles forward motion through the air rather than driven by an engine like a helicopter. To drive on the road the rotors are folded back manually and stowed away on top of the vehicle. The current 3-wheel PAL-V prototype has STOL capabilities, does 170 km/h on the road and up to 180km/h in the air. Using this concept, DARPA, the American research agency is developing a 4-wheel drive flying ATV called Transformer TX that will be able to ferry up to four troops in and out of battlefields.

The third category of flying cars is the easiest to build and fly. Based on the sport of powered para-gliding it’s basically a propeller powered dune buggy suspended beneath a large parachute. Very simple in concept all it needs to fly is forward motion to inflate the parachute canopy from which it is suspended. In 2009 a British team flew the Parajet skycar from London to Timbuktu on a 42-day expedition that took them through France, Spain, Morocco, across the Sahara desert to Mauritania and Mali flying all the way and only stopping to refuel or rest. The vehicle required very little maintenance and is currently available to buy.

Anyone wishing to procure a flying car in the not too distant future will have to have at least a private pilot’s licence in addition to a driving licence. Learning to fly them will require anything up to twenty hours of additional training that will be provided by the manufacturers. Flying them shouldn’t be too difficult to flying a plane as most of them will come with state-of-the-art-fly-by-wire systems that will make them, theoretically, un-crashable and easy to fly.

Classified as experimental aircrafts, users will be required to stay out of controlled airspace, built-up areas and flying at night will be forbidden.

So if you’re fed up of being stuck in ‘go-slow’ all the time why not get yourself a flying car(- if you can afford one!) and soar high above the traffic gridlock every day?

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  1. Bokem

    June 30, 2016 at 4:41 AM

    its risky to use

  2. sola olaniyi

    June 30, 2016 at 6:51 AM

    can’t wait to see flying cars in Nigeria

  3. Big Aunty Koks

    June 30, 2016 at 7:02 AM

    I am game trying something new , but let others start so I’ll see the advantages first. While the possibility is still a picture story in a magazine I’ll not commit 100%to trying same so traffic jam, we are still together for a while o!

  4. Metu Nyetu

    June 30, 2016 at 9:06 AM

    Science/tech never rests. Traffic jams could be frustrating. To me, it is suffocating, even when I’m in an air-conditioned car. And so these cars are welcome.

    If the car is already stuck in a traffic jam, the driver might as well remain there and drive like other cars because flying cars need some space before they could convert to flying mode. I gather that they would fully be in the market by 2017, i.e., next year. This is gonna come with its own challenges. Having them as many as we have other cars would cause more disasters than it’s meant to solve our traffic problems. I suggest they manufacture just a limited number of the cars to forestall this possibility, and the govt should regulate the number of such cars per year per area/state.


    June 30, 2016 at 10:16 AM

    Thank God for the invention. Bad market for witches and wizards, they are no longer the only ones that could fly during hold ups. lol.

  6. Gladys

    June 30, 2016 at 12:30 PM

    Where can it land, in people’s houses or Airports?

  7. fifelomo

    June 30, 2016 at 12:46 PM

    That’s a good one, but highly risky.

  8. D Hunter

    June 30, 2016 at 1:28 PM

    Wont work in Nigeria. A more sophisticated means of transport for Terrorist, Kidnappers, Armed Robbers.

    I take a stroll…

  9. Maryf

    June 30, 2016 at 3:17 PM

    Very risky but nice

  10. Truce

    June 30, 2016 at 7:05 PM

    @d Hunter u are absolutely right, this will create an easy escape root for criminals, unless more faster flyg cars are provided for armed officers, just like in the movie I watched on flying cars.
    But really I don’t know how dis can work in nigeria.

  11. gbenga

    June 30, 2016 at 7:21 PM

    Can’t work in naija.our electric cables will bring dem down.

  12. Chicachico

    July 1, 2016 at 10:01 AM

    In advanced countries, they have never for once said this, this is just omaginary because it can never happen anywhere.

  13. Chicachico

    July 1, 2016 at 10:02 AM

    In advanced countries, they have never for once said this, this is just omaginary because it can never happen anywhere.

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