Flying For The Masses?

  • Thread starter Lancelot59
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  • #1
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Well I'm sure we've all heard of all these people who want to bring "flying for the masses", using these sorts of contraptions:
http://www.popsci.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2010/07/flying1.jpg
I haven't finished getting my licence yet, but I still have a fairly good understanding of what it takes to fly. The people who make these machines say they want to bring "flying to the people" where everyone is capable of owning an airplane as easily as a car. When I see these sorts of people, I can't help but think that these people are absolutely silly.

I go to this train of thought: think about every idiot you've ever seen on the road. The sorts of people who cut people off, drive on the sidewalk, don't pay attention, or just can't drive. Now put those people in control of an aircraft. There is a massive difference between flying and driving. Operating a car is relatively simple. You go left or right, forwards or backwards. If something goes wrong you can usually pull over. While flying you need to focus on a wide variety of tasks at the same time, all in three dimensions. If you get lazy gravity isn't forgiving.

I just don't see giving everybody the ability to fly ending well. There are tons of accidents that occur already, and most of the people involved in those are people who (at least in my interpretation) are fairly on the ball. Letting "everyone" fly is just asking for trouble.

Also, the aircraft they are proposing to use...well they've been approved, so they must fly. But how well do they fly? It doesn't really look like you'd get the best performance out of them. Plus like some ultralights, they likely wouldn't glide well. I've seen some ultralights that lost their engine, and quite literally dropped right out of the sky. The ability to glide gives you the ability to get your aircraft to ground in a somewhat controlled manner. These aircraft just seem a bit sketchy to me.

That's just my opinion. What do you guys think?
 

Answers and Replies

  • #2
Office_Shredder
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Unless I've been misinformed, you still have to take off and land at an airport. That should put a pretty hard limit on the number of people in the sky at any given time
 
  • #3
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Very valid considerations, Lancelot59, the variety of mishaps possible in the air, exceeds human imagination and every year, new variaties show up; And Office_Shredder, in some parts in the states, many farmers have an grass strip behind the barn, suitable for take off and landing of slow movers.
 
  • #4
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As interesting as it is to build one of these things, I see it as a useless venture. It quite literally fall into a merely adequate airplane and a merely adequate car... That costs over 200 thousand dollars. Not to mention the amount of maintenance required to keep it FAA certified. It will never be more than a novelty. Now personal submarines, that is a tech that needs to be further exploited. :silly:
 
  • #6
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What's stopping all those idiots on the road from getting a pilot license now?

The same thing that should stop them from being able to operate a flying car.
 
  • #7
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Very valid considerations, Lancelot59, the variety of mishaps possible in the air, exceeds human imagination and every year, new variaties show up;
I'm one of those people who reads the safety letters Transport Canada sends out each month. Almost half of the booklet is some of the more interesting accident reports. It's everything from crazy weather, to human error, to strange mechanical failures.

And Office_Shredder, in some parts in the states, many farmers have an grass strip behind the barn, suitable for take off and landing of slow movers.
I'm not sure just how well these things would perform as STOL aircraft, but then again I might be underestimating how long this strip is.

LOL pun.

What's stopping all those idiots on the road from getting a pilot license now?

The same thing that should stop them from being able to operate a flying car.
Well the way logic works said idiots shouldn't have gotten their drivers licences in the first place. I don't know Americans have something similar, but on Discovery Canada we have a show called Canada's Worst Driver. It amazes me that the people who are on that show actually got licences in the first place. Well probably because they only had to drive well once, for an hour.

Current pilot training washes out people who can't fly because the instructors are for the most part take their job quite seriously, and you have to build that skill from the ground up (pun). If you can't hack it you don't progress. It's not just one 60 minute test, you spend at least two months with the instructor. There's a minimum amount of training time you need before you can get your licence. But I see in the future people starting to slip through the cracks if flying becomes a common activity.
 
  • #8
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You should look at the requirments to get a licence in Germany. 80% of the driving population in the US would be knocked out right off.
 
  • #9
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You should look at the requirments to get a licence in Germany. 80% of the driving population in the US would be knocked out right off.
Pretty much.

This is the video of the trike I was referring to. The engine died. I saw it on Destroyed In Seconds. I looked around but couldn't find a better copy:

 
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  • #10
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You should look at the requirments to get a licence in Germany. 80% of the driving population in the US would be knocked out right off.
Which is why there could never be an autobahn in the US. I don't need a third dimension and five times higher velocity for the texters around me.
 
  • #11
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You should look at the requirments to get a licence in Germany. 80% of the driving population in the US would be knocked out right off.
I found this:
The written test, which covers such things as rules of the road and traffic signs, can be taken in a number of languages, including English. It's taken at a drivers' school (Fahrschule), so let them know in advance what language you prefer. Be warned, the test is tough, and 30% of the people who take it fail to pass it on the first try. So you should study for it. There is a book in English, Lehrbuch Englisch (Fahren Lernen B), that many find a big help. You can buy it from a driving school for about €50, or you may find used copies being offered on line.

The test is multiple choice, but there isn't necessarily only one correct answer to each question. Some or all of the answers may be correct. You can get an idea of what it is like, in English with the correct answers checked, at www.osterberger.org/test.html.

Fahrschule cars for the driving examination are equipped with dual controls so that the instructor can take over any time the student gets into serious trouble. The law sets minimum durations and mileage for each aspect of the driving instruction: at least 225 minutes and 50 kilometers per session on highways or country roads: at least 135 minutes on the Autobahn with each journey lasting at least 45 minutes, and 90 minutes for driving in twilight or darkness, half of this on highways or country roads.

Those attending a driving school won't necessarily be treated as beginning drivers. Many schools have set up simplified courses for experienced drivers, which will cost you about €200 as opposed to the over €1,000 that a beginner would have to pay. If a school tells you it doesn't offer such a course, find one that does.
 
  • #12
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Nothing in the theory can learn you flying and even if you're highly skilled in the mechanics of flying, two other things are more important still: airmanship and situational awareness. That's what seperates the men/women from the boys/girls.

About that crash

The main reason of the quick loss of hight was that the pilot tightened the turn upon the engine failure, hence increasing the induced drag, causing the instantaneous loss of airspeed and anything without airspeed has the aerodynamic properties of a brick. The pilot should have leveled the wings and establish a glide.

Poor airmanship.
 
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  • #13
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Poor airmanship.
I guess, looking at it again.
 

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