Flying car

A flying car is a type of personal aircraft or roadworthy aircraft that provides door-to-door transportation both on the ground and in the air. The term "flying car sometimes also used for hovercars .

Flying car

Many prototypes have been built since the early 20. century, using a variety of flight technologies, such as distributed propulsion; some have real VTOL performance. The road-going PAL-V liberty aircraft is set to become the first flying car in full production in 2021.

Their appearance is often predicted by futurologists , and their failure to ever reach production leads to the catchphrase: "where is my flying car?" flying cars are also a popular theme in fantasy and science fiction stories.

Light sport aircrafts have almost the same characteristics as flying cars, as they offer a seating capacity of 1-3 seats.

Early developments

in 1936, henry ford demonstrated an experimental single-seat airplane he called the "sky flivver. The project was abandoned two years later when a record-breaking flight crashed and killed the pilot. [1] the flivver was not a flying car at all, but it caught the attention of the press at the time and excited the public that they would have a mass-produced, affordable aircraft product that would be manufactured, marketed, sold and maintained exactly like an automobile. The airplane was to be as commonplace in the future as the Model T of that time.

in 1940, henry ford famously predicted "mark my word: a combination of airplane and car is coming. You may smile, but it will come." [1]

in 1942, the soviet forces experimented with a glider, the antonov A-40, which could not fly on its own.

In 1946 the fulton FA-2" airphibian" an american road-going airplane designed by robert edison fulton jr. Designed was. It was an aluminum-bodied car built with independent suspension, airplane-sized wheels and a six-cylinder 165-horsepower engine. the fabric wings were simply attached to the fuselage, turning the car into an airplane. Four prototypes were built. Charles lindbergh flew it in 1950, and although it was not a commercial success (the financial cost of airworthiness certification forced him to give up control of the enterprise, which never developed it further), it is now in the smithsonian .

Flying car

The aerocar, designed and built by molt taylor, made a successful flight in december 1949, and in the years that followed, versions underwent a series of road and flight tests. Chuck berry introduced the concept in his 1956 song" you can’t catch me" and in december 1956 the civil aviation authority approved the design for mass production, but despite wide publicity and an improved version produced in 1989, taylor failed to put the flying car into production. A total of six aerocars were built. It is considered one of the first practical flying cars. [2]

In the period between 1956 and 1958 fords advanced design studio built the volante tri-athodyne, a 3/8 scale concept vehicle. It was designed to have three exhaust fans, each with its own motor, that lifted it off the ground and moved it through the air. in the public relations release, ford stated that "the day when an aero-car will be in every garage is still a time out", added, however, that "the volante shows a direction in which the styling of such a vehicle would go". [3] [4]

In 1957, popular mechanics reported that hiller helicopters was developing a ducted fan aircraft that would be easier to fly than helicopters and cost much less. hiller engineers expected this type of aircraft to become the basis for a whole family of specialized aircraft. [5]

In 1956, the U.S. army transportation research command began an investigation into "flying jeeps", guided fan-based aircraft that were considered to be smaller and lighter than helicopters to fly. 1957 chrysler , curtiss-wright and piasecki received contracts to build and deliver prototypes. They all delivered their prototypes; however, piasecki’s VZ-8 was the most successful of the three. While it normally operated close to the ground, it was capable of flying several thousand feet and proved stable in flight. Nevertheless, the army decided that the "flying jeep concept [was] unsuitable for the modern battlefield" and focused on developing conventional helicopters. In addition to the army contract, piasecki developed the sky car, a modified version of his VZ-8 for civilian use.

in the mid 1980’s former boeing engineer fred barker founded flight innovations inc. And began development of the sky commuter, a small ducted fan based VTOL aircraft. It was a compact, 14-foot-long (4.3 m) two-passenger and was made primarily of composite materials. [6] in 2008 the remaining prototype was sold for £86k on ebay . [7]

Modern developments

Flying car

As of 2017, several companies were developing electric flying cars or e vtols for production by 2020, including:

  • Sky drive by cartivator – the start-up had announced its goal of a flight igniting the 2020 summer olympics flare with its evtol, [8] on which on a duly moved COVID-19 pandemic . [9] toyota is a supporter. [8]
  • Kitty hawk flyer by kitty hawk corporation – larry pages zee.Aero and kitty hawk corporation (supported by page) are developing flying cars. [10] [11] in april 2017, kitty hawk unveiled its "flyer" VTOL aircraft, which only flies over water. [12] part of kitty hawk was spun off in 2019 from wisk , a joint venture between wisk aero LLC and boeing , into cora . [13] [8]
  • Volocopter 2X by E-volo, now volocopter [8] – in august 2019, the volocopter 2X was successfully tested at helsinki airport for integration into the air traffic management services for unmanned aerial vehicles airmap, altitude angel and unifly , a key element for commercial flight, certification. [14]
  • A³ vahana by airbus [8] – the airbus evtol prototype made its first flight on 3. May 2019 in donauworth , germany [15]
  • Ehang 216 by ehang [8] – the ehang 216 carried passengers in changchun , china, during a demonstration flight at the china-northeast asia expo 2019 in late august 2019 [16]
  • Uber – the international ride-sharing company working with karem aircraft [17] to develop the electric ecrm-003 evtol, with initial testing expected by 2020 and very uberair service studies by 2023 (los angeles, dallas-fort worth limited and melbourne), with 50 vehicles serving five skyports per city. [18] [19]

In 2016, aeromobil tested a prototype that received slovak ultralight certification. No word yet on when the final product will be available or how much it will cost. [20] in 2018, a concept was presented that resembled a flying sports car with VTOL capability. [21]

X-hawk [22] by urban aeronautics is a VTOL turbojet aircraft announced in 2006 with first flight planned for 2009. It was to be operated similarly to a tandem rotor helicopter , but with shrouded fans instead of exposed rotors. The required reduction in rotor size would also reduce fuel efficiency. The X-hawk has been promoted for rescue and assistance functions. As of 2013, no flights were reported.

Terrafugia has a flying road vehicle, the terrafugia transition on 7. May 2013 terrafugia announced the TF-X , a plug-in hybrid tiltrotor vehicle that would be the first fully autonomous flying car. It would have a range of 500 miles (800 km) per flight and the batteries would be charged by the engine. TF-X is expected to take 8-12 years to develop, which means it won’t hit the market before 2019.

The moller skycar M400 [23] [24] is a prototype personal VTOL (vertical takeoff and landing) aircraft powered by four pairs of tandem wankel rotary engines and approaches the problems of satellite navigation, integrated into incorporated the proposed transport system for small aircraft . Moller also points out that the skycar is currently only allowed to fly from airports and heliports. The skycar M400 has tiny wheels and no road capability at all. Moller has been developing VTOL aircraft since the late 1960s, but no moller vehicle has ever achieved free flight outside the ground effect. the proposed autovolantor model has an all-electric version powered by altairnano batteries. [25]

The xplorair PX200 was a French project of single-seat VTOL aircraft without a rotating airfoil , based on the coandă effect and using a series of small jet engines, so-called thermoreactors, used, embedded in the body of the tilt-wings . Announced in 2007, the project was funded by the French government and supported by several aerospace companies . A full-size drone was planned for flight at the paris air show in 2017, followed by the commercialization of a single-seat flying car in the years thereafter.

The skyrider X2R is a prototype flying car designed by MACRO industries, inc. Developed was. It is lighter than the moller skycar, which has never successfully flown untethered.

The production-ready single-engine, road-going PAL-V liberty autogyro or gyrocopter debuted at the geneva auto show in march 2018, then became the first flying car in production and was scheduled for 2020 [26] with full production planned for 2021 in gujarat, india . [27]

Flying cars should enter the Russian market in 2018. [28]

Turkey’s leading UAV manufacturer baykar focuses on work on its flying car called cezeri. It was first presented at TEKNOFEST istanbul in 2019.

In august 2020, a toyota-backed startup in japan tested its flying car prototype, a quadcopter with 2 propellers and motors per corner that flew for four minutes. [29] [30]

On 15. April 2021 , the world’s first flying car showroom for consumers was established in los altos, california. [31]

Chronological list of models

  • Waterman arrowbile (1937), US, five produced
  • Convair model 116 or convaircar (1946)
  • Convair model 118 (1947)
  • Aerocar or taylor aerocar (1949), u.s.a., six examples produced
  • Piasecki VZ-8 airgeep (1959-62), prototype vertical take-off and landing "flying jeep"
  • Terrafugia transition (2009) and TF-X (prototype)
  • PAL-V liberty, dutch commercial air vehicle, delivery 2021
  • Moller M400 skycar prototype (project started in 1960s, unsuccessful as of 2019)

A practical flying car must be safe, reliable and environmentally friendly on public roads as well as in the air. For widespread acceptance, it must be able to fly without a qualified pilot at the controls and at affordable acquisition and operating costs.


Many types of aircraft technologies and form factors have been tried. The simplest and earliest approach was to add a wheeled car with bolted-on fixed flying surfaces and a propeller. However, such a design must either tow its detachable parts behind it on a separate trailer or return to its final landing point before taking off again. Other conventional fixed-wing designs include folding wings carried by the car when driving on the road.

Vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) designs include rotorcraft with folding blades and dump-fan and tiltrotor vehicles. [32] most design concepts have inherent problems. Aircraft with shrouded fans, such as the moller skycar, tend to lose stability easily and were not capable of flying at more than 30 to 40 knots . [33] tiltrotors, such as the V-22 osprey convertiplane , are generally loudly. To date, no vertical takeoff and landing ( VTOL ) vehicle has ever demonstrated adequate road capabilities.

The gyroplane has an unpowered hub rotor that relies on its forward airspeed to generate lift. A folding rotor is required for road use.


Although commercial flying is statistically much safer than driving, private flying cars may not have as many safety checks as commercial aircraft, and their pilots would not be as well trained. Humans already have problems with the aspect of driving in two dimensions (forward and backward, side to side), adding the up and down aspect would make it "drive" or flying, as it would be, much more difficult; however, this problem could be solved by the sole use of self-flying and self-driving cars . [34] in the event of mid-air collisions and mechanical failures, the aircraft could fall from the sky or make an emergency landing, resulting in fatalities and property damage. [35] in addition, poor weather conditions such as low air density, thunderstorms, and heavy rain, snow, or fog can pose a challenge and affect the aerodynamics of the airplane. [36]

A major problem, which is rapidly increasing as it becomes more widespread, is the risk of mid-air collisions. Another is the unplanned or emergency landing of a flying car on an unprepared site below, including the possibility of accident debris. In anticipation of a large increase in the number of roadworthy aircraft and personal aircraft in the near future, regulatory requirements will be developed , and compliance with these requirements will be necessary for safe flight.

Mechanically, the challenges of flying are such that every opportunity must be taken to reduce weight to a minimum, and a typical airframe is light and easily damaged. On the other hand, a road vehicle must be able to withstand significant impact loads from random incidents and low and high speed impacts, and the high strength this requires can add significant weight. A practical flying car must be both strong enough to meet traffic safety standards and light enough to fly.


A widely used flying car must operate safely in a densely populated urban environment. The lifting and propulsion systems must be quiet and surround all moving parts such as rotors with safety covers and not cause excessive pollution.


A simple flying car requires that the person at the controls be both a qualified road driver and an airplane pilot. This is impractical for the majority of people, and therefore wider deployment will require computer systems to de-skill piloting. This includes aircraft maneuvering, navigation and emergency procedures, all in potentially crowded airspaces. Fly-by-wire computers can also compensate for many deficiencies in flight dynamics, such as in stability. A practical flying car may need to be a fully autonomous vehicle, with people present only as passengers.


The need for small and powerful drive systems can currently only be met with advanced and expensive technologies. As a result, manufacturing costs could be as high as $10 million. [37]

these flying cars would be used for shorter distances at higher frequencies and at lower speeds and lower altitudes than conventional passenger aircraft. However, optimal fuel efficiency for aircraft is achieved at high altitudes and high subsonic speeds, so the energy efficiency of a flying car would be low compared to a conventional aircraft. [38] similarly, the road performance of the flying car would be compromised by the requirements of flight, so it would also be less economical than a conventional car.

Where is my flying car?

The flying car has been and remains a common feature of the imagined future, even the imagined near future such as the 21st century. Century. [39]

in 1999, u.s. journalist gail collins stated:

Here we are, less than a month to the turn of the millennium, and I want to know what happened to the flying cars. We are about to become the americans of the 21st century. Becoming a twenty-first-century car. For more than 100 years, people have been predicting what we’ll be like, and our equipment doesn’t quite live up to expectations. (. ) our failure to produce flying cars seems a particular betrayal, since it was so central to our image. [40]

As a result, flying cars were jokingly referred to with the question "where’s my flying car??"a symbol of the supposed failure of modern technology to live up to the futuristic visions propagated in earlier decades. [notes 1]

Comedian lewis black had a similar routine earlier this decade [ when? ] in which he says: "this new millennium sucks! It’s exactly the same as in the old millennium! Do you know why? No flying cars!" [42]


The flying car has been depicted in many fantasy and science fiction works. [43]

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