Flying car history
- Henry Ford said the single-seat Flivver would be "the Model T of the air," but after a prototype crashed in 1928, killing the pilot, the industrialist abandoned the idea.
- The Piasecki VZ-8 Airgeep, also known as the flying Jeep, was developed for the US Army in 1957 to takeoff and land vertically.
- The Sky Commuter is a duct-fan based vertical-takeoff-and-landing (VTOL) aircraft designed by former Boeing engineer Fred Barker in the 1980s. In 2008, the remaining prototype was sold for £86k on eBay.
- The Moller M400 Skycar graced the cover of Popular Mechanics in 1991, teasing readers with the ability to "take off from your driveway, land anywhere." To date, the company has yet to conduct a successful test flight.
- The Xplorair, first announced in 2007, was funded by the French Armed Services and plans its first test flight in 2017.
- The Terrafugia Transition has been in development since 2006 and flying since 2009. In 2012, the winged auto flew for eight minutes and reached an altitude of 1,400 feet.
- The AeroMobil 3.0, a two-seat aircraft that can retract its wings and transform into a long roadster, was unveiled in Vienna in 2014.
- The German-made Lillium Jet plans to introduce the world’s first all-electric VTOL aircraft in 2018. It will seat two, range 300 miles, and will reach a max speed of 250 mph.
- Joby Aviation plans on flying its first 12-rotor prototype by the end of the year. Future versions will seat four and look more planelike.
- The Volocopter makes the Joby commitment to rotors look tame in comparison. The helicopter-drone hybrid, which aims to be completely on demand and autonomous, took its first manned flight in Southern Germany earlier this year.
- Zee.Areo is a mysterious startup that is reportedly completely funded by Google cofounder Larry Page, who has spent over $100 million on his flying car dreams.
- A lot of the public’s fantasies about flying cars can be traced back to The Jetsons, the 1960s-era animated sitcom.
- The flying car from 1968’s Chitty Chitty Bang Bang was originally conceived by Ian Flemming, the creator of James Bond. The original Chitty Bang Bang's motor was from a Zeppelin dirigible.
- Blade Runner, the seminal 1982 sci-fi noir, featured flying police cars call Spinners.
- "Roads? Where we’re going, we don’t need roads." With those words, Back to the Future’s Doc Brown and Marty McFly gave flying cars an 80s-sleek vibe.
- The Fifth Element featured its own flying cop cars, as well as aerial taxis. I wonder if Bruce Willis’ Korben Dallas would ever fly for Uber?
- Ron Weasly used a flying 1962 Ford Angilia to rescue his friend Harry Potter in The Chamber of Secrets.