Is this the end of the Jetson's dream?

Joseph S

Senior HTF Member
Joined
Dec 23, 1999
Messages
2,862
While watching "The Fifth Element" the other night, I was wondering if the dream of owning a personalized flying vehicle is now officially over.
If we were to utilize non-combustible fuels or fuel cells, would there still hope? I really would like to be free of roads sometime in my lifetime or the next one.

I know someone here was working on a hovercraft so somebody has to know a lot more than I do on this subject. Does anyone know if this is even a planned possibility? Hopefully development will continue.
 

Gui A

Supporting Actor
Joined
Dec 25, 2000
Messages
596
Single Passenger vehicles won't do too much damage, would they?
Besides, hopefully, that far in the future, evil people will be eradicated from earth, and we would have made First Contact.
 

Kevin Coleman

Second Unit
Joined
Jul 3, 1999
Messages
495
Check out this link guys. It is coming sooner than you think. You wouldn't pilot this vehicle though it will be remotely controlled via GPS. They say the first bunch will cost about a million dollars but when they can mass produce them they should fall to about the price of a luxury sedan.
http://www.moller.com/
 

Joseph S

Senior HTF Member
Joined
Dec 23, 1999
Messages
2,862

So now I just have to get through the rest of med school and residency, pay off $150 grand in student loans and buy a house. Then the next million definitely has to go for this thing.
That is one impressive looking vehicle.
Thanks for the link.
 

Ashley Seymour

Supporting Actor
Joined
Jun 29, 2000
Messages
938
About six years ago I met a guy who built his own small hovercraft. He did it quite cheap, but like Tucker, by the time it got ramped up for production it would be five times more expensive.
I sell real estate and it fired my imagination. I have visions of communities where streets are grass and limited to the hovercraft. You might still need a car to drive to other towns or into the main city, but many New Yorkers live their life without a car. When you look at the cost of putting in roads, and the cost of land, the trade off might be affordable.
Harry Dent in his book THE GREAT BOOM AHEAD and THE ROARING 2000'S predicts the next move will be to the exurbs.
PBS had a series about 20 years ago on the synergistic effect new technology had on spuring further inventions and on society. The car has done more to change our society than another invention over the last 100 years. More than planes, computers, etc. The internet may be the next "printing press" type revolution, but you change the way we move, commute and you will change human behavior like no other invention.
I would like info on the guy mentioned above and his hovercraft.
 

Jay H

Senior HTF Member
Joined
Mar 22, 1999
Messages
5,654
Location
Pittsfield, MA
Real Name
Jay
Hey Ashley, make sure you put in bike paths and walking trails, shouldn't limit the HPV (human powered vehicles) crowds like bikers, in-line skates, skateboards, etc.

Jay
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HUGBEES! My Equipment List
Rider in the 2001 Alaska AIDS Vaccine Ride
Wanna help?
 

Ryan Wright

Screenwriter
Joined
Jul 30, 2000
Messages
1,875
I know someone here was working on a hovercraft so somebody has to know a lot more than I do on this subject.

That would be me. Plenty of pictures and info @ my web site, listed in my sig below.

People have a lot of misconceptions about hovercraft. They only fly a couple of feet off the ground. No higher. Well, I take that back - it depends on the size of the craft, and the skirt. Large military & commerical hovercraft likely ride 5 feet off the ground, but only because their sheer size necessitates a larger skirt.

A hovercraft gets it's lift by trapping air underneath itself; it does this through the use of the skirt. The skirt is a big rubber (or in my case, heavy dacron vinyl) "skirt" that hangs around the edge of the craft. If you can picture a long balloon wrapped around the edge of the craft, you get an idea of how a bag skirt works. It does not extend fully underneath the craft, and the craft does not ride on the skirt - it rides on air forced underneath it by fans. The skirt simply contains the air bubble underneath the craft.

A hovercraft will never fly like an airplane, nor will it ever be useful on a public street. One could feasibly build special channels throughout a city that a hovercraft could operate in (some crazy guy has a patent on big tubes that specially built hovercraft can run through) but it isn't practical. Hovercraft are and will remain amphibious marine vehicles.

Other cool facts about hovercraft:
[*]Almost zero pressure put on areas of travel. You can hover over a raw egg on concrete and not crack it. You can hover over a swimmer without harming him (assuming your craft hovers high enough to clear his head). Thus, they're excellent for travel over sensitive areas.
[*]Great for search & rescue. They can travel over any semi-flat surface. They can move from water to ice and back with ease, travel over muddy swamps, sand, snow, etc.
[*]Water speed does not impede a hovercraft. The skirt gently drags across the water, but a hovercraft (when on cushion) does not leave a wake like a boat. There is some disturbance and rippling of the water, but no traditional wake. A hovercraft would be excellent in a place like Hells Canyon, where the water speed can add hours to an upstream boat trip. They are impeded by wind, however, just like an airplane. Your speed is "airspeed", so if you're doing 40mph into a 20mph headwind, you're really only doing 20mph. A hovercraft is almost worthless in very windy conditions. (But then, so are most boats)
[*]Lift on the craft I am building is through two 15" ducted fans. Thrust is from a 6' diameter 4 blade composite prop. Control is achieved by varying thrust, via traditional rudders much like an airplane, and by controlling the air pressure in the left & right skirt segments.

If anyone has any detailed questions, feel free to post them here and I'll do my best to answer them.

As for this Moller guy... he has been around for awhile. He shows up every few years with a new press release and makes headlines, but as far as I know very little has ever really come of it. He's been in Popular Mechanics/Popular Science a few times, but most people dismiss him as a nut. I personally hope he succeeds; I'd love to own a SkyCar, assuming he could get the price down under $50k. But I don't see it happening. The thing uses 8 Wankel engines. That alone tells me Joe Consumer will never own one.


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-Ryan (http://www.ryanwright.com )
Before you criticize someone, walk a mile in their shoes.
That way, when you do criticize them, you'll be a mile away and you'll have their shoes.
 

Chris Wittry

Stunt Coordinator
Joined
Jul 23, 1999
Messages
130
I've got 2 words for you: Quantum Teleportation
I see this becoming practical long before we all have any type of personal vehicle that can travel in the air. Take a look around at the number of threads on this forum devoted to car crashes, crazy drivers, hit and runs, etc and imagine adding another dimension to your travel experiences. "I swear officer, I signaled my vertical lane change. I didn't realize this portion of the sky was under construction!"

Of course, teleportation adds several dimensions, but hey, what are the odds of colliding with someone when you're flying through the air after having been broken down by a computer that exists simultaneously in multiple parallel universes? But alas, I digress...
[Edited last by Chris Wittry on October 11, 2001 at 11:13 PM]
 

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