back to article Flying car biz Alef claims 3K preorders, still hasn't done a proper demo

Alef Aeronautics claims to have more than 2,850 preorders for its Model A, which CEO Jim Dukhovny opines is the world's first true flying car, although we're still waiting for a live demonstration of the vehicle in flight.  Speaking at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona last week, Dukhovny argued Alef customers – who each had …

  1. trevorde Silver badge

    A good investment

    Pay $1500 for a place in the priority queue and then scalp it to some sucker. Or just go to the casino and put it all on red.

    1. STOP_FORTH Silver badge
      Thumb Down

      Re: A good investment

      I'm selling all of my Theranos and Magic Leap shares and investing right away.

      Thanks for the tip.

      Where do I sign?

      1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

        Re: A good investment

        I'd trade in those NFTs too. Go all in!

        1. STOP_FORTH Silver badge

          Re: A good investment

          I keep them in my Bitcoin wallet. I think it's down the back of the settee.

          Thanks again.

  2. Paul 87

    Can't even begin to see how the "simulated" mode is generating any real lift or thrust.

    There are definitely some realistic flying concept car designs out there, this doesn't appear to be one of them

    1. Roland6 Silver badge

      By now I would have expected to have seen a real flying proof of concept flying model to have been demonstrated.

    2. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

      I've seen more plausible vehicles pictured on the covers of 1970s SF magazines.

      OTOH, really looking forward to the Haynes book for this one. ("Routine maintenance: Lubricating the cockpit bearings.")

  3. captain veg Silver badge

    Flying car

    The problem here isn't whether or not it flies. Even a brick will fly, given enough force. The problem is that it clearly isn't a car.

    I can get a drone in my local Currys. If I bought a lot of them I might be able to get a human off the ground.

    It wouldn't pass an MOT.

    -A.

    1. Francis Boyle

      Re: Flying car

      You could also buy a lawn chair and a bunch of balloons. Yeah, I go out on a limb and say this would give you a better flight experience than this (and a better road experience too if you bolt on some lawn mower wheels) .

      1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

        Re: Flying car

        Between the no-doubt horrendous noise of the ducted fans and the pants-soiling terror, what's not to like?

        Flying cars are one of those terrible ideas that some people just refuse to give up on.

        1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge
          Thumb Up

          Re: Flying car

          As a certain other person with a sound-a-like name, David Duchovny said (in character) "I want to believe" :-)

    2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: Flying car

      "The problem is that it clearly isn't a car."

      True. On the other hand and to be fair, the limited road speed isn't that relevant since the only places you are going to be road driving is places you can't fly, such as in a city or town where getting as fast as 30mph is a bit optimistic any way :-)

  4. ecofeco Silver badge
    FAIL

    There will never be a demo

    I just looked at their design.

    It's bollocks. From style to engineering, total bollocks.

    1. Blank Reg

      Re: There will never be a demo

      The whole concept of flying cars is bollocks. People can't drive on the ground, it won't get better in the air, and the consequences of failure are much more severe. Then there is the noise issue, do you really want these things buzzing overhead all day long? If they ever get off the ground they will be relegated to rural areas only.

      1. HuBo
        Alien

        Re: There will never be a demo

        Huh! Ever heard of Cavorite?

        1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

          Re: There will never be a demo

          I had some of that! Stupidly, I left the lid off the jar and somehow it disappeared :-(

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The flying car, aka the helicopter, has been with us since 1947, and there are very good reasons why we don't all fly them to work every day. Sure you can change the shape of it to make it look a bit more like a car, and if it still flies after all that then all you've done is spend a lot of time and money to build a less-optimal helicopter.

    This vehicle, like all the other flying cars, is just a scam to take money from gullible investors.

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

    2. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

      there are very good reasons why we don't all fly them to work every day

      Yeah. For one thing, they're so strict with the rules.

      (Joking aside, I agree with you. Seaplanes are an uncomfortable compromise between planes and boats, but they have their justifications. Car-copters not so much.)

  6. cookieMonster Silver badge
    FAIL

    These things will never be allowed

    There is zero chance that these will ever be allowed to operate in Europe for the general population, at least for the next 50 years, the muppet’s on the road right now have trouble using their indicators, obeying road signs, parking properly. There’s NO WAY these are going to be available to anyone, unless they require a pilot’s licence AND are treated as aircraft, including restricted use to airports, which kinda kills the purpose.

    1. Blank Reg

      Re: These things will never be allowed

      Well if you treat them as aircraft then they will be even more impractical. Park your fancy flying car at the mall and then when someone just slightly dings you then it may no longer be airworthy. The whole idea is just a stupid fantasy for 12 year olds

  7. dwrolfe

    Ever googled "Parasitic Drag"? Because this lot haven't...

    I saw a half scale model of this at MWC last week. If - and thats a big 'if' - it works at all, it will never go faster than about 40 mph. the bizarre "multiplane as bodywork" will create so much drag that it simply can't...

    Why?

    The amount of parasitic drag it will create will be farcial...

    David Rolfe

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Ever googled "Parasitic Drag"? Because this lot haven't...

      Not to mention the complete lack of pitch stability. There's a reason most aeroplanes have either a tail or a canard.

  8. Alan Bourke

    Ah yes flying cars

    As unlikely to ever come to fruition as self-driving cars.

    1. cookieMonster Silver badge
      Trollface

      Re: Ah yes flying cars

      Oh they’ll be popular ok and available to everyone, right after we have that fusion thing going and producing limitless amounts of cheap energy

      1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

        Re: Ah yes flying cars

        But none of that can happen until we have this whole paperless office problem licked.

        And after that, we've got to go for the paperless toilet of course. You do know how to use the three seashells, right?

        And then there's robot / monkey butlers...

        1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge
          Coffee/keyboard

          Re: Ah yes flying cars

          "But none of that can happen until we have this whole paperless office problem licked."

          See icon!!!!!

          IIRC, I first this concept mooted around 1983 or so :-)

      2. spacecadet66

        Re: Ah yes flying cars

        To be fair, they've gotten fusion as far as the "ignition" stage, which makes me think we should try lighting our existing stock of self-driving cars on fire and see if that helps.

  9. AaronCake

    Poorly Made Plywood Mockup

    The Alef "flying car" I saw at the North American International Auto Show (Detroit) in September was nothing more than a poorly made plywood mockup. It was a painted plywood body with a laser cut metal grid screwed to the top. Motors and rotors bolted to a plywood base plate (ie. nowhere for downdraft to flow). I'm fairly sure the rotors were lawnmower blades. I don't think the prototype even rolled because the wheels seemed to be bolted to hubs which attached directly to the body. Underneath, unpainted plywood was visible. This is all while the Alef ref was claiming to the crowd that this was a flying prototype and the crowd accepting it in awe.

    I have a number of pictures on my website: https://www.aaroncake.net/misc/naias2023.asp

    1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

      Re: Poorly Made Plywood Mockup

      But who wouldn't want to drive around in something that looks like an overgrown space heater?

      Hilarious.

      1. spacecadet66

        Re: Poorly Made Plywood Mockup

        > But who wouldn't want to drive around in something that looks like an overgrown space heater?

        Adults?

    2. Crypto Monad Silver badge

      Re: Poorly Made Plywood Mockup

      The plywood base is clearly a safety feature, to stop the prototype taking off in the middle of the exhibition hall, or from being stolen. If it doubles up as a ride-on lawnmower, that's an extra selling point.

      You have to admire the work of the modern investor con-artist though.

  10. druck Silver badge

    Simple economics

    The reality is that if you can afford to fly your own aircraft, whether it be an aeroplane or a helicopter, with all the training that involves, and the substantial costs of purchasing the aircraft, maintenance and fuel, you can afford to drive a very nice conventional car to the airport, and hire another one at the other end. Having a combination vehicle which is horribly compromised in carrying capacity, range and speed in both the in the air and on the ground, doesn't make any sense practically or economically.

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