A Short History Of The Flying Car

Because, seriously, what's the hold up?

July 1924 Popular Science
In July 1924, famed fighter pilot, racecar driver, and automotive designer Eddie Rickenbacker wrote the first story about flying cars in Popular Science. The headline read "Flying Autos in 20 Years." Since then, readers have waited patiently—for generations. We've learned not to make promises, but in the next two years a few functioning, legal flying cars are set to reach the market or enter development. Call it a revolution. Call it about time. Just don't call it science fiction.
Terrafugia Transition
Perhaps the most carlike of flying cars, the Terrafugia Transition is on the path to approval from the Federal Aviation Administration and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and has undergone multiple flight and simulated-crash tests. On the ground, it “drives” with its wings folded up and will likely top out around 65 mph. In flight mode, the wings fold out, and the craft can cruise at 105 mph. The $279,000 vehicle is due out in 2015. More than 100 people have put down deposits already.Courtesy Terrafugia
Pal-V One
Created by Dutch company Pal-V Europe, this two-person motorcycle-gyrocopter mash-up can fly at 112 mph and can take off and land on very short runways. On the ground, the tail, rotor, and propeller fold away, and the machine transitions into a three-wheeler that gets 28 mpg. The Pal-V One made multiple test flights over the past year in the Netherlands; the company says it will deliver the first of the $285,000 vehicles in 2015.Courtesy Pal-V Europe
Samson Switchblade
The Switchblade is essentially a flying three-wheeled car. It will, in all likelihood, sell as an $85,000 kit. Three different engines will be available, including a 170-hp Suzuki Hayabusa, which will drive a ducted pusher fan at the rear of the vehicle, allowing top speeds of over 200 mph. Operators will need a motorcycle driver’s license and a private-pilot certification. In April, the company completed the first part for its full-scale flight prototype.Courtesy Samson
Moller M400x Skycar
In development for two decades, Paul Moller’s M400X is perhaps the most famous—or infamous—flying-car R&D; project. The craft uses four maneuverable, ducted fans for takeoff, flight, and landing. The tens of millions spent on R&D; produced a series of tethered flights in 2002 and 2003. Nonetheless, Moller recently announced a $480 million deal with Athena Technologies, a developer of control and navigation systems for UAVs, to co-produce the VTOL aircraft in the U.S. and China.Courtesy Moller