Driverless trucks? Fuhgeddaboudit.
Platooning trucks? Ain’t happenin.’
Here, boys and girls, come the Jetsons. For real. If I’m lyin’ I’m dyin.’ No kiddin.’
When I was a kid, two of the most popular cartoon “sitcoms” were Hanna-Barbera’s “The Flintstones,” set in the Stone Age, and its counterpart “The Jetsons,” set in the future.
I would think four-wheel motorists who have to travel around the Atlanta area and other heavily congested areas like Chicago and Los Angeles would like to get their hands on a flying car like ones on the “Jetsons.” The cartoon also featured robotic maids, aliens, holograms and all sorts of electronic gizmos.
The Jetsons (parents George and Jane; children Judy and Elroy; and Astro the dog) lived in Orbit City in the Skypad Apartments.
George was always shown whizzing around in his flying car, and never seemed to get in any traffic jams or fender-benders.
There’s a flying three-wheeled car called the Samson Switchblade which just recently introduced its automated tail, which — like its wings — pop up or stow away at the push of a button, according to a news release titled “Flying sports car achieves major milestone.”
“In only 2 minutes, the flying car’s tail transforms from driving to flying mode or vice versa, under its own power,” the news release announced.
The wings, which were introduced two years ago, “swing out” and this sky-ready transformation takes about 3 minutes. So that’s a total of around 5 minutes for this “car” to turn itself into a plane.
It can fly at up to 200 mph at 13,000 feet, the news release says. (Sorry truckers, this thing is too small to haul anything.)
The tail and wings are stowed and safely protected when the craft is ready to drive as a car. In fact, the tail folds into the back of the vehicle when it’s being driven on the road. That’s not quite as compact as George Jetson’s flying car, which stowed itself in a briefcase, but that’s showbiz.
“The Switchblade is a three-wheel, street-legal vehicle that you drive from your garage to a nearby local airport,” says the release, adding that since the Switchblade is a “high-performance vehicle in both modes, [that] sets it apart from other entrants into the race to build the first practical flying car.”
“The folding tail creates an image like the Transformers, the Batmobile and James Bond all rolled into one,” says Switchblade designer Sam Bousfield.
Bousfield’s company, Samson Sky, has its own engineers, design staff and fabricators and they’ve been working on the project for about 10 years.
According to a video clip on the company’s website, Bousfield, a pilot and inventor, says the reservation list for the vehicle has reached 900, with reservation holders in 30 countries and 47 of the 50 U.S. states.
Since sketching flying cars as a 5-year-old child, Bousfield says he always thought a flying car would be “a cool thing.”
The vehicle is designed for existing pilots and aviation enthusiasts and is billed as the world’s first flying “sports car.”
Bousfield, who formerly worked for Boeing designing a propeller plane that would break the sound barrier, says his dream was to make a flying sports car that’s “truly useful” to people who want to get from Point A to Point B safely and in record time.
The company estimates that a 3 1/2-hour trip by automobile would take as little as 45 minutes in the air in the Switchblade, which is made out of carbon fiber.
The company’s website doesn’t mention how much this flying car will cost but people can reserve them with no money down, the site says.
It also doesn’t mention if the craft has been cleared by the powers that be to fly in and out of airports etc. For example, would it cause a ruckus like drones have?
But according to Bousfield, “early adopters” of the craft include NASA and Boeing engineers and airline captains, “along with retirees wanting to maximize their recreational time.”
Doh! Those darn three-wheelers.
God bless and be safe out there.
Dorothy Cox is former assistant editor – now retired – of The Trucker, and a 20-plus-year trucking journalism veteran. She holds a bachelor’s degree in fine arts and a master’s degree in divinity. Cox has been in journalism since 1972. She has won awards for her writing in both mainstream and trucking journalism.