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Entries in flying cars (22)


Personal Helicopter (1943)

This 1943 rendering of a personal helicopter by Alex S. Tremulis appears in the book Yesterday's Tomorrows: Past Visions of the American Future by Joseph J. Corn and Brian Horrigan. The caption from the book is below.

This concept for a high-speed personal helicopter was an early expression of what would become in the years immediately after World War II an extremely popular vision of the future. To many observers, the helicopter seemed to promise wings for city dwellers who might land atop their apartments or office buildings. Unfortunately, helicopters were - and remain - difficult to fly, relatively unsafe, noisy, and energy inefficient.

See also:
Commuter Helicopter (1947)
Transportation in 2000 A.D. (1966)
Vision (Clip 2, 1993)
Nazi Paleo-Futurism (1941)
Year 2000 Time Capsule (1958)
New York in 1960 (1935)
Closer Than We Think! Throw-Away Clothes (1959)
Automobiles Without Wheels (1958)



Mean Automakers Dash Nation's Hope For Flying Cars


Yet Another Flying Car Company

The IsraGood blog points us to yet another company promising that ever-elusive flying car of the future. Urban Aeronautics claims that they will be producing the "X-Hawk" by early 2009.

It seems like an intelligent business plan to first introduce the vehicle for urban rescue and medical evacuation purposes but, even if it flies, the mass-market hurdles to such transportation options still exist.

See also:
The Jetsons Car We've Been Waiting For?
In 50 Years: Cars Flying Like Missiles! (Chicago Daily Tribune, 1959)
Where's My Jetpack? (2007)
Automobiles Without Wheels (1958)
Flying Car Patent (1991)


The Jetsons Car We've Been Waiting For?

Over at Moller International they take the idea of a flying car very seriously.

Moller's June 28, 2007 press release announced the start of production for their, "Jetsons-like M200G volantor, a small airborne two passenger saucer-shaped vehicle that is designed to take-off and land vertically." Further excerpts from the press release appear below along with video of what appears to be an earlier prototype.

CEO Paul Moller calls the M200G, “the ultimate off-road vehicle,” able to travel over any surface.

“It’s not a hovercraft, although its operation is just as easy,” he says. “You can speed over rocks, swampland, fences or log-infested waterways with ease because you’re not limited by the surface. The electronics keep the craft stabilized at no more than 10 feet altitude, which places the craft within ground effect where extra lift is obtained from operating near the ground. This lets you glide over terrain at 50 mph that would stop most other vehicles.”

While the company does not foresee the requirement for significant training or licensing to operate the vehicle, it is prepared to offer demonstration sessions in Davis, Calif., once the vehicle is ready for market.

See also:
In 50 Years: Cars Flying Like Missiles! (Chicago Daily Tribune, 1959)
Where's My Jetpack? (2007)
Automobiles Without Wheels (1958)
Flying Car Patent (1991)


Going to the Opera in the Year 2000 (1882)

This lithograph from 1882 depicts the fanciful world of 2000; flying buses, towering restaurants, and of course, 1880's French attire. Albert Robida is less well-known than Jules Verne but contributed just as much to the collective imagination through his amazing illustrations.

If you speak French I recommend picking up the Robida book La vie électrique. For the record, I don't speak French. Much like a child, I got it for the pictures.

(UPDATE: Some very good questions have been raised about the date of production for this lithograph. The year 1882 came from a Library of Congress source. La Vie Electrique (published 1892) contains structures that look similar to the Eiffel Tower but are in fact lighthouses. However, I am definitely open to the idea that "circa 1900" would be a more appropriate label.)

See also:
Postcards Show the Year 2000 (circa 1900)
Collier's Illustrated Future of 2001 (1901)
Predictions of a 14-Year-Old (Milwaukee Excelsior, 1901)
The Next Hundred Years (Milwaukee Herold und Seebote, 1901)
What May Happen in the Next Hundred Years (Ladies Home Journal, 1900)


Article for MungBeing

I wrote an article for the online magazine MungBeing which appears in the new issue. An excerpt appears below. You can read the entire article here.

There is a genuine sense of sadness detectable when you talk with people about flying cars and meal pills. Oddly enough, most people don't want meals-in-a-pill, they simply want the fanciful. We long for the world where anything is possible. We exist in a rather unique age when most American's basic necessities are met. You and I have luxuries unseen in human history and yet we want more.

See also:
Postmodern Paleo-Future


Automobiles Without Wheels (1958)

The October 15, 1958 Lethbridge Herald (Lethbridge, Alberta) ran a story describing the transportation options of the future. Below are excerpts as well as the piece in its entirety.

The kind of automobile that futuristic artists have portrayed since the late 1920's and science fiction writers dream about may be closer than we think.

[The car of the future] may have no actual physical contact with the roadway when it travels or maybe just one wheel; electronic bumpers may surround it so that accidents at ultra-high speeds will be rare, power may come from a central source or perhaps through a ribbon in the pavement.

A hovering, helicopter-like vehicle is expected to become an actuality yet this year....

See also:
In 50 Years: Cars Flying Like Missiles! (Chicago Daily Tribune, 1959)
Disney's Magic Highway, U.S.A. (1958)