Other companies are developing their versions of the flying
car. Macro Industries of Huntsville, Alabama is developing a flying car called
the Skyrider X2-R. The X2-R has a maximum speed of 355 mph with a range of 800
nautical miles. Macro claims that the production version of their flying car
will be available in about five years.
The CarterCopter, being developed by Carter Aviation
Technologies, has a large rotary engine on top, like a helicopter, and a
smaller one in the rear to provide propulsion. It can fly at five hundred miles
an hour. Company founder, Jay Carter, a former engineer at Bell,
does not envision creating a production model in the near future, as he is
concentrating on research and development. He does suggest that when the first
production model is available, it will probably be a kind of air taxi that can
take a handful of passengers between nearby cities, beating out commercial jets
because the trip would be between downtown heliports, obviating the need to go
to distant air ports.
NASA’s Highway in the Sky
All of these flying cars will never get off the ground
unless there is a means to control them while they are in flight. Fortunately,
NASA has developed a computer and tracking system called the Highway in the
Sky. Using satellites and global positioning system, the Highway in the Sky will
provide a heads up display for a pilot of a flying car. It will be much like a
video game, that will create a kind of virtual box in which the pilot has to
keep his vehicle to keep it from crashing into other flying cars.
Other notions include using the same sort of system to
preprogram a flying car’s flight path so that once in the air, the pilot would
not have to physically control the air craft. The NASA program will even help
pilots fly during bad weather by providing a virtual view of the world outside.