The History of Flying Cars

I know what you’re thinking: Flying cars have a history? Do they even exist? At least that’s what I also thought, and it turns out it’s a long one. It starts in 1917 with Glenn Curtiss, who built the Curtiss autoplane, a combination between an automobile and an airplane, it was something unheard of back then. It looked like a car but with wings attached, so obviously, it never flew. It was only capable of making “short hops”. The good news is that it was the first stepping stone towards the exploration of the possibility of having flying cars in the future.

Photo: impactleb.net

Then came the Arrowbile in 1937, developed by Waldo Waterman. Like the autoplane, this vehicle had a propeller attached to its rear. It was capable of safe flying but unfortunately, it didn’t receive the attention it deserved and only 5 were built.

Photo: Althetron.com

The Airphibian came next and it was a success. Robert Fulton thought instead of getting a car to fly, why not adopt a plane for the road. It had a detachable tail and wings that can be stored in the plane’s fuselage. Hence it only takes 5 minutes to convert the plane into a car, and that is incredible. The Airphibian was the first aircraft to be certified by the Federal Aviation Administration.

Photo: New York Times
Photo: airwar.ru

Last but not least, the Aerocar, inspired by the Airphibian and Robert Fulton, is the most successful flying car to date. Its creator Moulton Tyler designed it to drive, fly, and then drive again with no interruptions and as smoothly as possible. It was the second roadable aircraft to receive FAA approval.

Photo: Historylink.org
Photo: fiddlers.net

Just imagine that it’s the most normal thing to do, pulling out of your garage, turning your car into a plane because you are late and you know that there is heavy traffic. You have no other choice but to fly there, literally. Of course, there will a lot of rules, regulations, and runways for it to be this easy in the future. But if flying cars exist, is there anything impossible anymore?