There have been cars that have flown as prototypes and models that were meant as promotional fodder for the masses to be impressed by even if they never would make their way to the market and there have been those attempts that failed which tried to make this an affordable choice. One place this item has shown up many times over and has never quite caught on is at the Yuba County Golden West Air Show which is where a ton of experimental models make their pitch to those discerning skeptics at the show.
Recently the item that was offered to give us a look at what could be a flying car was the Switchblade. This vehicle was offered as one that would drive perfectly on the road and then offer you the benefit of folding wings and a tail that could pull out and then you could take off and fly where you needed to go. Not only what this particular model one that looked like it might work and be an interesting choice but it was advertised at a price that is fairly reasonable considering the cost of most items that can leave the ground.
Unfortunately for the man who built the Switchblade, the crowd at Yuba County wasn’t impressed and asked many questions he couldn’t easily answer including whether or not the vehicle was legal for the roads or the air and exactly what it would take to get it off the ground. This flying mobile came in with some answer and ended up leaving with more questions from the crowd who had seen more than their share of what these models could offer and never deliver for a few different reasons. It’s too bad that it didn’t work out or the crowds weren’t impressed, a flying car sounds like fun.
One of the biggest reasons a flying car doesn’t work well at all is the fact that airplanes and cars exist in different aspects of physics. The cars need to be able to offer grip and friction on the road while having the power and dynamics of lateral movement with little or no roll. An airplane has to be able to lift off and take to the air and more in a more three-dimensional space to fly. The problem with building a combination is that you end up with an inferior version of both of these items.
This has even been tried by NASA at one time and failed then as well. While there have been more lightweight materials developed and carbon composites have come a long way, the fact remains that having a combined vehicle that is meant to be a little of both results in a dud that doesn’t do either one of the activities extremely well. Until someone finds a way to overcome this obstacle and let us have a vehicle that can truly transform from one to the other fully, we’re going to continue to be offered questionable vehicles of awful design that we know won’t work as a car and a plane in one.