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Friday
Jun132008

Shopper Hoppers (1959)


The August 2, 1959 Chicago Tribune ran this Closer Than We Think strip about personal flying platforms of the future. It's in an image like this that I realize how fundamentally different our world would be had the flying car ever become a reality. You just can't beat an "over the rooftops" perspective.

A kind of "flying carpet" may be the answer to the problem of personal transportation in the future. The flying platforms shown here would be suitable for such uses as low altitude hops to neighboring shops.

 

Military models of these "hoppers" have already been developed at Piasecki Aircraft and Chrysler. The flat platforms are lifted by air blasts through ducts at the bottom. The vanes of the ducts are movable, to permit control of direction. These vehicles would hover like helicopters and move at city traffic speeds. Construction would be simple, and costs could be kept low enough for civilian requirements.

Next Week: Farm Rainmakers


See also:
Online Shopping (1967)
GM's Shopping Cart Car (1964)

 

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Reader Comments (7)

If they ever develop the personal flying car it will be a disaster. First we'll be forced to see how shabby and boring all our rooftops are and then someone will figure out they can paint Burger King ads up there for big $$$ and it's all over.

June 13, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

The reason I don't think flying cars ever caught on is you'd need not only a driver's license but also a pilot's license to operate one. And with the new risk of terrorism, people having personal airplanes, accessible to everyone that they control themselves poses a big risk. Not only from terrorism, but crashes would probably be frequent. Great blog, anyway.

Masoni

June 14, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterMasoni

I'm not sure but I don't think you need a special license to fly ultra-lights. Whether a flying car would qualify I don't know...

The big problem with a personal flyer is that any type of malfunction will likely be catastrophic and fatal. If your car breaks you pull over to the shoulder. When your heli-car breaks you fall from the sky. Not good...

June 14, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterFredProgGH

"The big problem with a personal flyer is that any type of malfunction will likely be catastrophic and fatal. If your car breaks you pull over to the shoulder. When your heli-car breaks you fall from the sky. Not good..."


Not necessarily. You're forgetting gyrocopters; the PAL-V is a mechanically simple take on the flying car concept that is little more than a street legal gyro.

The important feature of gyrocopters is that the prop is unpowered; it's driven by air being forced through it, hence the rear drive prop. If the power cuts out, the prop continues to spin thanks to the same effect that drives it in the first place; the gyro then simply floats to the ground.

June 14, 2008 | Unregistered Commenter.

I didn't know that. Interesting!

June 14, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterFredProgGH

Two words; Computer Control.

Once they have automatic control worked out for ground vehicles, it's a short step to move from 2D to 3D.

The problem with air cars is that it will take so much energy to keep them in the air. So you not only need computer control, you also need cheap energy.

Both of them will come eventually, and then we'll have flying cars all over the place. But I wouldn't hold my breath

June 17, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterMark R. Brown

No, farther than you think!

May 6, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMike G

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