Here come the flying cars

Flying Cars

Flying cars have previously only been the stuff of science fiction; limited to movies, digital trickery, or even balloons that look like cars. However, there are several cars actually flying today. The Terrafugia Transition, Pal-V, Parajet SkyCar, I-TEC Maverick, and U-Turn S-trike are all radically different from one another, yet all have earned their flight wings. While it won’t be cheap, here’s a few you can take your wheels to the sky:

Terrafugia Transition

Terrafugia Transition Flying Car

Terrafugia Transition Flying Car

How it flies: Single propeller, folding wings extend from roadable aircraft

Available: Q4 2013 (expected)

Specs:

  • Price: $279,000
  • Capacity: 2
  • Top speed: 80 mph land / 115 mph air
  • Mileage: 35 mpg (driving)
  • Range: 450 miles (air)
  • Uses regular unleaded gasoline
  • Cruising altitude: 3500 ft (1050m)
  • Safety: Full vehicle parachute available
  • Requires sport pilot’s license

Best for: Serious pilots who want to try their hand at driving. Or if Google puts their self-driving car technology into it, it can drive itself all the way to the runway.

PAL-V One (Personal Air and Land Vehicle)

PAL-V One Flying Car Folded

PAL-V One Flying Car

How it flies: Rotor, tail, and rear push propeller extend from aerodynamic body

Available: 2014 (expected)

Specs:

  • Price: €250,000-€300,000 (~$325,000-$390,000)
  • Capacity: 2
  • Top speed: 112 mph (land and air)
  • Mileage: 38 mpg (land)
  • Range: 220-315 miles (air)
  • Cruising altitude: 4000 ft (1200m)
  • Safety: Auto-rotating rotor allows safe landing with engine failure

Best for: Road warriors able to medivac heart attack victims who just witnessed a flying car

Parajet SkyCar

Parajet Skycar Flying Car

Parajet Skycar Flying Car

How it flies: Ram-air wing and industry-leading paramotor deployed from high-performance sport buggy

Available: Late 2012

Specs:

  • Price: £65,000 (~$103,000)
  • Capacity: 2
  • Top speed: 140 mph (land) 100 mph (air)
  • Range: 400 miles (land) 200 miles (air)
  • Max altitude: 15,000 ft (4500 m)
  • Safety: Emergency ballistic parachute
  • Requires light sport powered parachute license

Best for: Off-road speed demons who won’t let any obstacle get in their way

I-TEC Maverick

I-TEC Maverick Flying Car

I-TEC Maverick Flying Car

How it flies: Ram-air wing and 5-blade propeller deployed from canvas-covered dune buggy

Available: Now

Specs:

  • Price: $94,000
  • Capacity: 2
  • Top speed: 100 mph (land) 40 mph (air)
  • Range: 450 miles
  • Max altitude: 10,000 ft (3000 m)
  • “Flies like a car” – Use steering wheel in the air
  • Designed by I-TEC Christian Organization to minister to remote Amazon Rainforest communities, but marketing has since expanded

Best for: Navigating the rainforest like a boss.

U-Turn S-Trike

U-Turn S-Trike Flying Car

U-Turn S-Trike Flying Car

How it flies: Parachute and paramotor attached to ultralight trike frame

Available: Now

Specs:

  • Price: $15,000
  • Capacity: 1
  • Top speed: 50 mph (land and air)
  • Range: 280 miles
  • Max altitude: 18,000 ft (5500 m)
  • Safety: Reserve parachute
  • No license required

Best for: ATV junkies short on trunk space and wanting to forgo terrain altogether

BONUS: Moller M400 Skycar

Moller Skycar Flying Car

How it flies: VTOL 4 x  180 hp Rotapower 500 wankel rotary engines, folding wings

Available: Unknown (long-term development – no manned test flights performed to date)

Specs:

  • Price: N/A
  • Capacity: 4
  • Top speed: 330 mph
  • Range: 750 miles
  • Max altitude: 36,000 ft (11000 m)
  • Safety: Hold on tight

Best for: Harrier jet pilots who want something more family-friendly

Delorean flying car Jetson's flying car

In summary, over the next few years you’ll have real options when it comes to flying cars, as long as it looks like a Cessna-car mashup, a helicopter that Batman would be proud of, or skydiving dune buggies (if you want to look like Iron Man though, the FlyBoard water jetpack is your best bet). Which of these flying cars would you want to test drive (and fly) the most, and what does your ideal flying car of the future look like?

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