Flying cars: Alternative to traffic jams, flight delays?

t’s a bird! It’s a plane! It’s a car with wings? A robotic duck? No. In the words of its inventors, it is a “road-able aircraft.” It is a flying car. And maybe it is coming to a garage, street, highway, airstrip, or sky near you, writes WOLE SHADARE.
IF you have ever dreamed of owning a flying car, then you may well be able to buy and fly one.
Imagine being able to get in your car and soar over the traffic jam on the highway, and then touch down at your destination in a fraction of the time it normally takes to drive. It sounds very inviting and tantalising. Call it a flying car or a road-able aircraft, but either way, it’s an idea that has been floating around.
A flying car retailing for $227,000 could be on roads in a matter of months – and customers are already lining up to be the first to get their hands on one, its maker claims.
It is yet to be confirmed if Nigerians are among the thousands of people who have made order for the flying machine considering the taste of affluent Nigerians.
While the United States and other advanced countries have put systems in place to ensure its safety, the idea is entirely alien in this part of the continent.
For cities like Lagos and Abuja that are becoming congested with traffic, leading to loss of hours on the road, the idea looks very much interesting.
The poor road infrastructure and planning has been a major source of concern. This has consequently resulted into perpetual road works and repairs.
Lagos has a higher density of population; hence, there is no sophistication of the town housing and road planning.
In addition, there are many others who share the same road with the car vehicle users. Other factors that have been of key concern are accidents, which often occur on roads.
For short distant travellers, it can serve as alternative as it tends to serve dual purposes of flying over huge traffic jams. Buyers will have value for their money.
It could help to eliminate constant delays that have become regular feature at the nation’s airports, occasioned by scarcity and hike in the price of JET A1.
One question that agitates the minds of many is, who regulates the operations of flying cars should Nigerian money-bags decide to go for this equipment?
It is simple. The Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) and the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA) would need to regulate to prevent congestion and collision in the airspace, while the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) is expected to regulate its operation on the ground.
The implication is that the operator will have two licences to be able to operate the machine in Nigeria.
Just last week, the Terrafugia Transition passed a significant milestone when it was cleared for takeoff by the United States National Highway Safety Administration.
It has taken Terrafugia founder, Carl Dietrich just five years to realise his dream, with some media outlets reporting that the Transition could now be on U.S. roads by the end of next year.
Last year, the project was headed for trouble after authorities demanded design changes costing Terrafugia somewhere in the order of $18 million.
The next stage for Terrafugia is global domination, with the first stop outside the U.S. being Europe.
The firm disclosed that more than 20 Britons have already expressed interest in owning the new flying machine.
The two-seat plane is made of carbon-fiber and aimed primarily at the U.S.’s 600-strong “fly-in” communities. It can lift off from almost any long straight road and, once in the air, has a top speed of 115 mph.
On landing, its wings fold up in 15 seconds, with power then routed to the rear wheels, giving it a top land speed of 62 mph and size dimensions equivalent to a large sedan.
The Transition will be available to those with a light-aircraft license and requires as little as 20 hours of training to fly.

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