It looks like a bigass shark swallowing a truck. I want one. How much does a C-17 run these days?
…but in practice you want a certain amount of deformation zone to absorb impacts. FTFY.
Nobody says the deformation zone has to be heavy. A microstructured light-metal or even polymer “foam” could do the job fairly well.
If the plane handles in the air like a Cessna, it will be a barfmobile.
At least for the passengers. The air is a pretty bumpy ride for a small aircraft, even at good weather. The effect is much weaker when you are at the controls, though. Don’t ask me why. Piloting is nice but being a backseat passenger for longer than very short rides sucks.
Edit: My idea of a flying car is a twin-rotor ducted-fan hovercraft. Lightweight, with liftable skirt and wheels for common driving and fuel economy, but with ability to hover over bad or nonexistent roads or over water, and to fly over shorter distances. Then you can have the best of all worlds - good smooth rides over empty roads, shortcuts over meadows and water bodies (bridges are common choke points of urban traffic), and aerial transit between the road and the shortcuts, and over traffic jams (the poor fuel economy for short-range higher-altitude (low dozens feet top) doesn’t play much role for just few seconds of actual flight).
Weight in itself isn’t necessarily critical, but hugging the road for optimal traction is. A fast-moving car can use aerodynamics (like the spoilers on a race car) to help accomplish that. The problem is that a well-designed car uses aerodynamics to push the body down while a well-designed plane uses aerodynamics to push the body up.
If it was widely used, wouldn’t such a vehicle lead to horrible ozone pollution?
Good point, I hadn’t thought of that…apparently ozone pollution is potentially pretty damaging.
A Gift from Earth
He depicts anti-gravity cycles in stories set later in the Known Space sequence, but at the time on that colony that seemed to use ducted fans.
I assume a prototype vehicle of that style is just around the corner, after all the advances in drone technology is essentially the same thing on a smaller scale. now making them practical for mass public consumption is a whole different matter.
As has been stated many times before, requiring an airport runway for takeoff pretty much eliminates any practical advantage over just keeping a small plane parked at the airport. Owning a conventional luxury car and small plane (plus I guess renting a car at your final destination) would likely cost far less than this thing, and perform better in their roles. But a small urban airship on the other hand, would be friggin’ awesome…
(Yes, I know, it’s been done, but it needs to be done again.)
Make it “requiring a straight strip of level ground for takeoff” and the requirements are now greatly eased.
Technically, you could be able to takeoff/land even on a level field or a meadow. And there are straight strips of concrete/asphalt all over the landscape, I think they are called “roads”…
Hmmmm. On the other hand, the difference between a wing that lifts up and one that pushes down is largely a matter of angle, isn’t it? In theory, you could just rotate them between roles…
Angle together with shape. The control surfaces can handle it, better chance to change wing profile than only the angle of the entire thing.
You have to consider what cross-winds would do to that body shape too. I’d sure hate to be driving that thing at freeway speeds on a gusty day (assuming it’s even street legal to begin with).
I would fly the fuck out of an airship/dirigible. I wouldn’t even care that the small ones top out at 30-50kt or so. It’s a small price to pay for traveling in style.
Hey! How about a spoiler alert before you post about stuff like that?
Regulations have caught up since the days of Alberto Santos-Dumont. You can’t take your airship to the local pub, get drinks, and fly off again (within 8 hours, regardless of blood alcohol level) without violating regulation FAR 91.17. But you could still pull a Carl Fredrickson and fly over to the local ice cream shop, which would be nice.
Naw, man, I wanna be a sky pirate. All those laws about plundering only apply to the land and the sea, but in the sky, I’m INVINCIBLE!
But things aren’t equal. We have this ludicrous situation in which ~1000 kg of metal is used to shift typically ~100 kg of wet matter around. Orders of magnitude more energy is used to shift the thing doing the transporting than the thing being transported!
As Shaddack pointed out, light weight does not imply feeble.