Discover: One Small Step for Flying Cars
A drone’s flying test may help pave the way for flying cars. In early December, U.S. regulators gave their approval for unmanned hover tests of a miniature flying car model made by the company Terrafugia. Such testing would provide feedback for eventually building a full-size version of a flying car capable of hovering for vertical takeoff and landing.
Contrary to some more breathless news headlines, this does not mean the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has cleared a hover-capable flying car for flight tests in U.S. airspace. Instead, Terrafugia only received special permission to operate a “one-tenth scale TF-X vehicle” under the classification of a small Unmanned Aircraft System weighing less than 55 pounds. The small-scale model of the TF-X prototype—basically a small drone—will have to operate at altitudes below 400 feet and at speeds under 100 miles per hour. Still, it’s a crucial step on the road to creating a flying car with the likeness of the futuristic vehicles seen in science fiction films such as “Back to the Future,” “Blade Runner” or the “Star Wars” prequels.
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CSN Editor: I want one.