Will We Get Private Flying Cars Before the Pentagon Manages To Get This New Jet Off the Ground?
People have anticipated the invention of flying cars for nearly as long as there have been regular cars on the road. Last week, central Virginia’s Chesterfield Observer reported on an unexpected problem in Richmond: Flying cars are finally here, whether aviation authorities like it or not.
An adviser to a nearby airport warned the local planning commission that a Charlottesville resident had ordered, and would soon be taking possession of, the appropriately named Jetson One, a $92,000 personal aircraft designed and sold by Swedish company Jetson Aerospace. The Jetson One is an eVTOL—an electric vertical takeoff and landing aircraft. It operates more like a helicopter than an airplane, able to hover in place and raise and lower its altitude.
Despite the news coverage’s framing, flying cars are not imminently arriving in your neighbor’s driveway. But it’s worth comparing the progress of private companies like Jetson to the billions spent by the Pentagon, and how well each is doing at delivering on a technology that can take off and land vertically.
First things first: The Jetson One is not a flying car, despite what the name might suggest. The company may co-opt The Jetsons for its branding, but the days of a family sedan that can motor around without touching pavement are still a thing of fantasy.
In reality, it’s better described as a drone with a seat, resembling a dune buggy with propellers instead of wheels. It can reach top speeds over 60 mph and a cruising altitude of more than 1,500 feet in the air. It’s all-electric and a single charge provides around 20 minutes of flight time. The company promotes it as “a formula one racing car for the sky” and boasts that the controls are easy to learn and it can be flown without a pilot’s license.
But eVTOLs are a burgeoning market. At this year’s Consumer Electronics Show, California-based company Aska deb
Article from Reason.com