Lately, I’ve been spending most of my time up on my property, but have been driving down to San Francisco every couple of weeks. Depending on the stops I make, it can take six or seven hours for the trip, which isn’t too bad for a day’s drive, but it’s long enough to discourage me from going on short trips. Though my city-to-woods ratio may vary depending on how much free time and/or money I have, I will be living a dual lifestyle for the foreseeable future, and this long “commute” has been something of a headache for me.
Fortunately, a solution is on the horizon: flying cars will soon (finally!) become a reality! The Terrafugia Transition has been approved by the FAA, and will apparently be available next year. Once I come up with $200k and get a sport pilot license, this’ll be the perfect solution for getting to my property and out to the city. The Transition supposedly gets 30MPG on the road, and 5 gallons per hour in the air. It flies at 115 miles per hour, which means it’ll take a little over 2 hours to cover the distance between San Francisco and my property, burning a little over 10 gallons of gas. That’ll cut transit time to a third, while consuming less gas than it does to drive! The best part is, the Transition only needs a third of a mile of runway, so I can take off and land directly on my property if I build a landing strip (which is actually permitted by zoning codes). There’s also an airfield about 20 minutes away from my property as well, not to mention, nice long straight empty county roads nearby, where I can land and drive to my property without ditching the plane and switching to a car.
This is really exciting because it opens up new lifestyle possibilities that currently aren’t practicable. For instance, a flying car like this would totally make it feasible for me to live on my property and commute to Silicon Valley a couple of times a week, or perhaps for a few days a week. Sure, $200k for the plane and 20 gallons of gas per trip ain’t exactly cheap (not to mention the maintenance costs), but it’s sure as hell cheaper than buying a house in Silicon Valley (average home prices are around $500-700k). Also worth noting is that flying cars like these can be parked in regular parking spots, which alleviates the need for expensive tarmac or hangar spaces at an airfield (which, if I understand correctly, is one of the big recurring expenses that makes private plane ownership prohibitively expensive for many).
While the manufacturer seems to currently have rich hobbyist fliers in mind, use-cases like the one I outlined above will ultimately decide whether flying cars remain toys for the rich, or become ubiquitous transportation options for the masses like their grounded predecessors. I’ve been working on a longer article about how, contrary to popular thinking, modern technology could (soon) make rural living comfortable, practical, cheaper, and more efficient. This seems like another piece in making that a reality.
This will make purchasing a luxury vehicle that can’t fly for over $200k seem dumber than it does already!
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THAT is COOL! And 1 more reason to keep driving my 15 year old car (that I still love a lot). I’ll just save for a flying car.
As a pilot I’m intrigued by this, but note that it has a very low capacity fuel tank (probably due to the sport category rules) and thus limited range, especially taking required fuel reserves into account.
Thanks for the blog, btw – enjoyable to follow your experiences.
While the speed aspect is hard to beat, there’s much cheaper fuel efficient ways to make the drive. I’m in the early process of turning a ninja 250 bike into a 2 seater trike (2 wheels in front, drive like a car). The bike does up to 85mpg, and the heavier trike will need more gas but have better aerodynamics, so who knows how much it will get but even 55 to 65 mpg is amazing. That’s L.A. to bay area for $20.