The flying car project is the modern version of a perpetual motion machine project.
"The Nigerian inventor building a flying jet car"
Stop squeezing my knob. No seriously, I've had enough. "Then you give it a squeeze." OK but not until I'm ready. "You won't get any benefit until you squeeze it," he announces to the dark, crowded room before turning back to me. "Do it now. Go on, give it a quarter-turn to the right." Reluctantly, while everyone else …
And they haven't started pre-production. Can anyone say lawsuit for wrongful advertising ?
"The easiest way to become a pilot" says the web page. Easiest way to become a smear on a wall, cliffside or tree trunk, I say - and that's when you manage to avoid embedding yourself in someone else's vehicle. At least you have to have a license to pilot - tends to keep things under control, what with annual pilot license fees in the thousands of euros and dozens of hours of actual flight time. At that expense level the dumbbells tend to drop out naturally.
Honestly, if I have an actual pilot license I wouldn't want to bother with this hybrid monstrosity. As a car its aerodynamics must be ridiculous, as a plane its range is ridiculous. You get the worst of both worlds and you pay large annual fees for the privilege.
I don't see this ever taking off. Real pilots will want a real plane to go places with, and rent a real car when they get there. Half a million bucks will get them plenty of travel destinations without the hassle this monstrosity must be.
In France, you have to fly a dozen or so times (not hours) a year at a rate of over €100 (depending on your club, apparently) per flight in order to validate that you can renew you license. If you don't have sufficient recorded flights, you cannot renew the license.
Don't how how much renewal costs though. Still, the whole process is an order of magnitude above just £150. And you're certified to fly an actual plane that can cross all of France in just a few hours. This joke of PR stunt will do all of 200km in the air, if that, at the cost of half a million and a pilot's license.
Anyone with a pilot's license will not even consider putting money in that stupidity even if they have it, is what I'm saying.
Agree with all except the annual licence fees. A UK PPL does not need to be renewed so there is no annual licence fee. You do however need to log a minimum number of flying hours each year, and get an annual medical certificate.
... and you'll probably discover just exactly how cold The Bay is. I seriously doubt it's built to float, especially not with a couple dozen 20mm rounds run through it.
 Insert your own local high profile landmark and LZ as you see fit.
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And that's in three dimensions, so first of all self driving cars need to happen and solve those problems in the limited two dimensional space of roads. Then when the lessons have been learnt they can be extrapolated to three dimensions and complex, invisible hazards.
The complete opposite is in fact the case. It is far, far easier to make a fully automated aircraft than a fully automated car. Aircraft do not have to contend with unexpected obstacles, road junctions, traffic lights, pedestrians or other traffic mere meters away that may behave in an unpredictable manner.
And 3 dimensions make collision avoidance easier rather than more difficult as it provides an additional 2 directions to move. An aircraft does not have to accurately track a narrow road, and can be miles off-course except when transitioning from air to ground or vice-versa - and such transitions can be at a relatively few fixed points that are provided with navigation aids. Already a commercial airliner can be (and often is) put on autopilot and flies itself from the moment it takes off to the moment it touches down. Granted the pilot is necessary to take commands from air traffic controllers and feed them into the autopilot, but it would be trivial to provide a way of feeding the autopilot wirelessly from the ground.
Actually, 3 dimensions makes the situation WORSE because now trouble can come from BELOW you as well. An additional two directions to move ALSO means two additional directions things can MOVE AT YOU. In other, more degrees of freedom = more degrees of Murphy.
An aircraft DOES have to accurate track a flight path without landmarks because another aircraft can be above, below, OR besides you (this is real-life stuff, which is why Air Traffic Control is so important).
Autopilot DOESN'T HELP in the event of exigencies, such as turbulence (distressingly common, take it from a frequent flier) or incursions (another bloody idiot pilot getting in YOUR way). And what happens with a sudden catastrophic failure? At least with the car it just comes to a halt and you can get out (in a hurry if need be). Coming to a halt is not ideal when you're a thousand feet in the air in an airframe nigh-inpossible to build for a dead-stick glide.
The fact that autopilots for aircraft have been in routine use since before the microchip was invented, but nothing comparable is yet available for cars should indicate that your statement is incorrect. Aircraft autopilots are far easier to implement for all the reasons previously stated. The same is true of ships, which could trivially be completely automated today - certainly for the vast majority of a typical passage at least. Leaving and entering harbour and docking would probably still require human control unless ports were equipped with suitable equipment to allow those portions to be automated.
It looked like the cockpit of a typical fighter jet, but with four gimbaled jet engine nacells (one at each corner) & a pair more flanking a T tail at the back. If they had ever gotten it to work, reliably, safely, & (hopefully) cheaply, then it probably would have sold so many units it would be as common as most mid sized SUV's are at the moment.
Too bad it had the storeage capacity of a grocery sack, the unpowered emergency glide path of a meteor taking a firey dive into the planet, & never got much farther than the prototype.
Don't even get me started on Personal Jet Packs.
Why not? Frankly, the Martin Jetpack looks kinda real, even if you still can't buy one - it does seem to be an actual flying thing. Not the most tuxedo-compatible gadget, I give you that though...
"If they had ever gotten it to work, reliably, safely, & (hopefully) cheaply,"
Yeah, it's looked pretty but until someone invents a Mr Fusion, it ain't ever going to happen. Using thrust to keep you in their is very, very costly without decent sized wings. Wings which can't be strong enough and foldable/stowable to offer much lift unless they are small which means very high horizontal speeds to be useful. Compare a jet fighter with a glider.
Given the various fit bands will have accuracy levels of who know what...
Why not just use the (probably also wildly inaccurate) calorie estimate the spin bike gives you - all the gym bikes I have ever used give you distance / calories etc data if you check (& these were fairly low tech bikes in cheapo gyms)
"Given the various fit bands will have accuracy levels of who know what... Why not just use the (probably also wildly inaccurate) calorie estimate the spin bike gives you"
Short of a lab setup monitoring oxygen intake, there isn't really a reliable way to measure calorie usage; even a heart rate and respiration monitor relies on all kinds of assumptions and calibration to tell you anything close to sensible. This means that the only sensible way to monitor your activity is to use the same monitor all the time - you're never going to get a really accurate measure, but at least you can compare what you're doing now with what you did last week. The monitors built in to gym equipment don't work for that; not only can you not take them with you when you're not at the gym, but even using the same make and model equipment in the same gym doesn't guarantee the same results if, for example, one has been greased more recently than the other.
Basically, unless you take it all really seriously and have proper monitors with good calibration and so on, you'll generally get just as accurate results from finding an old calculator and hitting the "rand" button as you will from using a variety of different cheap monitors.
"But even using the same make and model equipment in the same gym doesn't guarantee the same results if, for example, one has been greased more recently than the other."
Indeed, if one has been greased more recently it can make a difference! But also one must remember to shower one's self after or else one will ruin one's new suite when going to the club after the gym.
Can't they do it the other way around, and monitor CO2 output? Since that's released by the skin as well as the lungs, maybe there is a way for a fitness band/watch to someday get a fairly accurate calorie count.
Interestingly, the estimates for calories burned while running seem to be in a pretty narrow band - it is basically related to your weight and the number of miles you ran. Speed is irrelevant, an elite runner running 8 miles in 35 minutes will burn about the same number of calories as I do running the same distance in 70 minutes, if we weigh the same. And even if we don't, weight isn't a huge factor so you can basically figure 100 calories per mile and maybe add or remove 10 for every 40 pounds over/under 180 you weigh.
I can totally understand why the range for cycling varies so much - you have not only the distance traveled and weight of the rider, but elevation change, wind, riding position, rolling resistance, and weight of the bicycle. You can't come up with an easy formula, because even a beginner could average 15 mph on flat ground on a windless day riding a carbon fiber bike, but not even a Tour De France winner could manage 15 mph on a windy day going up and down hills, riding a heavy framed fat tire bike.
I'm kind of surprised they can't get the estimate range pretty narrow for spin though, if you measure in "miles". A strong cyclist can hit the same rpm as a weaker one using more resistance. Just as he may pedal the same speed on the road but be in a higher gear so he goes faster.
Surely the easiest AND most accurate measurement would be to use an electric generator connected to a variable load as the "friction" device. You can then trivially measure the watt-hours generated and multiply by 860.421 to convert to calories, perhaps multiplying by a fixed efficiency factor.
"Surely the easiest AND most accurate measurement would be to use an electric generator connected to a variable load as the "friction" device."
No, all that does is measure the work done on the generator. The human body isn't 100% efficient, so that won't tell you how much energy you've used in total to do that work once you take waste into account. Since different bodies have different efficiencies, there's no easy way to convert between the two, and once you throw in things like wind, slopes, different surfaces, and so on, it all becomes rather complicated.
"I can totally understand why the range for cycling varies so much - you have not only the distance traveled and weight of the rider, but elevation change, wind, riding position, rolling resistance, and weight of the bicycle."
That's all just as important for running though - try running up a mountain on a dirt trail on a windy day and compare that to running on a flat road in the calm. The only real difference between the two is that most people tend to stick to nice flat paths for running, while cyclists have the strange habit of deliberately finding the biggest hills possible. Cycling isn't really inherently more difficult to estimate energy use, it's just that the average cyclist is likely to see more varied conditions than the average runner; running gets just as tricky once you start looking at people like trail runners.
Wind hardly affects running at all unless it is extremely strong. Sure, it might feel like you are working harder against a 20 mph wind, but if you do the calculations for a typical 5-10 mph runner it is only a few percent difference.
I agree about hills, I'd guess the '100 calories per mile' is probably for relatively flat runs (maybe even on a track?) so if you have a lot of hills you are doing more work, but I'm not sure exactly how much more. I just know that in my regular running routes, I much prefer getting the big hills over with early instead of reversing direction and having them at the end!
"Spin bikes? You go to much posher gyms than I do."
What's the difference between a "spin bike" and a "normal" exercise bike?
(No, since I ask, I've not been to a gym in many, many years. Do they still have medicine balls and indian clubs?)
They are pretty much the same, the main difference is that a spin bike is in a room with a lot of identical bikes, and one in the front facing the rest for the instructor. Nothing stops you from doing 'spin' on the 'exercise bike' found out in the main gym next to the treadmills and stair climbers, other than motivation to push yourself as hard as the instructor would.
Actually, that's pretty much how a gyroplane/autogyro works.
To quote Wikipedia...
"An autogyro is characterized by a free-spinning rotor that turns because of the passage of air through the rotor from below. The vertical (downward) component of the total aerodynamic reaction of the rotor gives lift for the vehicle, and sustains the autogyro in the air. A separate propeller provides forward thrust".
"...passage of air through the rotor from below..." ??
So the Wikipedia article (and we always believe them to be correct, yes?) is actually suggesting that the autogyro is in a constant state of falling and so stays up in the air...............
Time to take some more of those pretty pills maybe??
> actually suggesting that the autogyro is in a constant state of falling
No. The rotor is tilted with the leading edge of the disk containing the blades higher than the trailing edge. Thus the air passes from the underside of the disk to the upperside interacting with the blades as it does so. This is so whether the vehicle is level, climbing, or descending.
This is in contrast to a helicopter where the air is pumped from above the rotor disk to below (unless the engine fails in which case it goes into auto-rotate mode which is as above, except in that case it _is_ in a state of falling).
The physics behind helicopter flight is non-intuitive and not easy to understand wrt either the aerodynamic concepts nor the gyroscopic considerations. In autorotation, the upward air flow through the rotor disk causes the inner section of the rotor blades to act as a windmill and provide power (torque), while the outer section acts the same as it does in powered flight and provides lift to keep the helicopter flying. The ability to act as a windmill however depends on the blades continuing to rotate fast enough so as not to be stalled over more than a small percentage of their length - if the rotor RPM falls below about 85% of it's normal speed it will no longer be able to provide enough torque no matter what the pilot does, and the RPM will continue to drop rapidly until there is insufficient centrifugal force on the rotor tips to keep the blades stiff and close to horizontal, they will fold upwards and the helicopter then adopts the same aerodynamic profile as a brick. Such a situation is not recoverable from any height.
Following an engine failure, the pilot of a helicopter must therefore react immediately and lower the collective (reduce blade pitch) so as to enter autorotation before rotor RPM decays. The slightest hesitation in doing so is almost always fatal (the smaller the helicopter, the faster must be the pilot's reaction). Having achieved auto-rotation however, the subsequent emergency landing is more likely to be survivable than a fixed-wing, because of the far lower forward speed needed at the point of landing.
It's neither powered by the wind, nor lifted by it. "Wind" is defined as a movement of the air, whether naturally or artificially generated. Gyros and fixed-wing aircraft fly by hurling themselves through the air. This creates relative airflow past the aircraft, but it's not "wind".
A gyro is powered by its engine which drives it forward, generating airflow over the rotor and making it spin. The spinning rotor generates lift and the gyro slips the surly bonds of Earth. Kites are powered by the wind, and cannot fly without it.
> to overcome the lack of wind
So you agree that your 'cannot fly without wind' was incorrect.
> lack of wind. Try flying your kite in a vacuum
'Lack of wind' does not imply a vacuum. The air does not disappear because it is not moving.
> Wind means nothing when you have more energy than it.
Try flying a kite by running downwind!
"'Lack of wind' does not imply a vacuum. The air does not disappear because it is not moving."
The point is that air is a prerequisite for wind. A vacuum has no air. No air, no wind. No wind, your kite ain't going to get lifted up by it, end of. It's for the same reason a feather will fall as quickly as a pebble in a vacuum.
"Try flying a kite by running downwind!"
At that point, the kite is flying YOU instead.
> The point is that air is a prerequisite for wind. A vacuum has no air. No air, no wind. No wind,
10 days and that is all you could come up with ?
Seeing as you are going completely absurd, I counter with:
Up, up and away! indeed - 36 minutes to pub o'clock and counting. Have a nice weekend, everyone!
this seems to be the nearest thing to reality
drivable planes rather than flying cars, all seem a bit shit though , pity the moller thing was a ponzi scheme they did look good.
If you have the money to invest in one of these flyingcars/driveable planes then surely a helicopter makes sense as you can fly and get to where you need to go without the need for a car.
Turning the heating down by 1 degC in the winter will burn more calories than any reasonnable amount of exercise while saving a bit of cash. Win-win!
The thing with flying cars is that while the concept might sound appealing, the idear really is appaling. Most people already fail at navigating their car properly in 2-D, imagine the disaster if flying cars ever bacame a thing. Thankfully it's ulikely to happen, because no-one in their right mind actually wants one. It's expensive, cubersome and extremely impractical. People who want to fly for fun can get an ultralight at a fraction of the price, and people who want to skip jams can get a 2-wheeled death machine at a (very) small fraction of the price and with less danger to themselves and others. Plus, these actually work.
Turning the heating down in the winter will inevitably result in hypothermia, thereby terminating all weight loss.
I do hate the advice that says you can save money by turning your thermostat down by just one degree - mine is set at 0.9 deg Kelvin - how much money will I save if I turn it down one degree?
"Turning the heating down in the winter will inevitably result in hypothermia, thereby terminating all weight loss."
Thing is, we're WARM-blooded. We can generate our own heat, as long as we don't lose too much at a time. I recall it's much easier to turn the heat down and just use a blanket.
Before showing anyone a new airplane with its wings folded and claiming it as a flying car, the VC guys should make inventors watch 30 minutes of Russian dash-cam footage from YouBend.
If the inventor still has the nerve to trot out a picture of his/her concept, we might have a winner.
"Alistair Dabbs is a freelance technology tart, juggling tech journalism, training and digital publishing. He genuinely wishes PAL-V luck with its plans but reserves the right to keep waiting for someone to develop a real flying car – which is to say one that hovers by anti-grav and folds into a suitcase like for George Jetson with a single squeeze of his knob."
'ere, 'aff one for youse...
Everyone assumes that the Flying Car will be like a car, as in: Turnkey, brainless, any half-trained idiot can use it. So Joe Clueless can just wander out, fall in, and travel with the same lack of skill and attention that he now does with his car.
This. Will. Never. Happen.
As mentioned elsewhere, getting a pilot's license isn't easy or cheap. You have to demonstrate proficiency with the aircraft, proper operation, safety procedures and what to do when the shite hits the fan. You must periodically re-certify and pass medical standards. But any idiot barely able to drive can get a driver's license for life. Not acceptable for a flying car!
The only way we'll have mass-produced flying cars is if they're totally autonomous or if a regular pilot's license is required. Anything else invites death raining from the skies.
To summarize a badly organized rant, we may get flying cars one day! But not everybody will own one, even if they become cheaper. And that is a good thing.
I watched an old UK crime drama the other day, a TV programme with the obligatory car race to a field where the blagger jumps into the plane with his bag of dosh. As the plane came in to land, it came close to stalling and it rolled perilously. When the camera moved out, you could see that it wasn't a case of crap flying. The poor bloke or lass had to approach over power lines and some trees, drop a few hundred feet and pull up before a coppice. All that risk for a few hundred quid and some scary TV footage.
I guess it was filmed in the south east of England, circa 1980. Even then, the filming would have required co-operation from the aviation authority and some form of risk assessment. The pilot would have been experienced and the plane was conventional. It wasn't like a rich privateer landing on a safe private airfield.
The sky is now more crowded although there may be fewer overhead power lines. Even with VTOL or near VTOL capability, flying cars will face huge legal and insurance barriers which defeat any possible benefit in much of Europe. Flying cars may be able to land at holiday homes in the Scottish highlands but they won't get the millionaire back home.
As for the millionaire who regularly lands his (rental service) helicopter 200 yards from my home, I have no polite words to describe his antisocial and irresponsible behaviour. He gets picked up by a limousine so he could easily land further out of town. But ten minutes of the life of a millionaire is worth more than inconvenience to the rest of us.
Dad, James Bond's dad. License to tell you kids to STOP FIGHTING OR I'M MAKING A 180° BANKING TURN AND WE'RE FLYING HOME!!1!
Also, concerning the future as seen on The Jetsons. I think we can all agree that in the future we just might have flying cars all of which look extremely alike. And most likely auto-flying, but we should all be mindful of big bags of stolen cash in the back seat that would let us know we are taking the wrong flying car. Something the ponder.
The helicopter IS the flying car. The reason you won't be able to pop down to the shops in your 'flying car' is the same reason you can't do it in a helicopter. You'll blow the neighbour's dog through his basement window, clip the telcomms lines off your home, snag a high-tension cable by the highway and come crashing down right in front of a 40ton freightliner. If you're sober.
It'll get messy after a few pints.
The license, training. airport and flightplans all exist for a really good reason.
Oh... and screw automation. Once you've got a few hundred thousand fliers in the air around a big city you'll get to see the three dimensional version of gridlock with the added bonus of falling out of the damned sky. How would the central control (there would need to be a central control for a city or you'd have absolute flaming chaos) for that many aircraft actually work?
On reflection, I could have said, "They don't like you landing ON the supermarket", but it does solve some of the problems about parking, electricity and phone lines, etc.
That just leaves getting down, and getting back up with your shopping, and the supermarket roof not collapsing under the weight, although that would also solve the getting down and getting back up parts.
I cycle. I have panniers.
The one on the right...
Given the human body is so efficient I could run a marathon on a slice of buttered toast with Golden Shred I don't see the use.
Well I can't run a marathon anyway, but you know what I mean.
Dieticians qualify as one of* The Professions Least Capable Of Reaching A Consensus. Is it lo-fat this week? Or hi-carb? Or paleo? Do I stoke up with protein before, during or after a workout? Say again?.. Yes or maybe no to all of those questions? Oh - lack of magnesium, or Conjugated Linoleic Acid, or....... common bloody sense?
*The others being Economists, Statisticians and Politicians.
This may be trademarked but I think it represents agreement on calories and all that: "Eat food, not too much, mostly plants."
The problems are that sausages and cakes taste nice and also that you can't get on TV with a book called "Don't Eat Too Much" especially if that is all that it says. So they invent things with names like "The 4-4-2 Diet" or "No, Not The Face".
There are other factors worth attending to: I think I was referred for colonoscopy and worse basically because I've spent 50 years eating not enough "fibre" and my intestines are baggy and elderly and slightly bleedy. Blood could mean cancer, but in this case it seems to be "diverticulitis", which I have just described.
There also is an alarming catalogue of foods containing "purines" which may have a sudden agonising and crippling effect, the famous comedy illness called gout. This is well worth avoiding if you like being able to walk. Following the "Don't Eat Too Much" diet probably controls the risk sufficiently for most of the foods in question, especially the "Mostly Plants" part, but if that's a bit difficult then look more closely at the category-red items.
It's an autogyro. You can get these things for about 1/10th the price the article asks, but they won't look as nice (but they *exist* as opposed to the vapor being sold).
They are slow and require runways, so it has all the problems of planes and "flying cars" added together, plus a much higher price tag (for the vapor in question). Safety should be a bit higher (thanks to the autogyro effect), but don't count on being able to choose a landing location in case of an emergency (you are pretty much coming right down, although probably slow enough to survive).
If it still sounds good, you might find an existing one (I think someplace in New Zealand has some in stock). Don't expect what you see in the 'Jetsons'.
> They are slow and require runways,
There are/have been autogyros that can do 300 knots.
Autogyros spin up their blades before take off and can jump start by over-speeding their blades at zero pitch and then adding pitch to jump off the ground with zero ground run.
They can also land in a very small space.