With the Terrafugia Transition flying car (or drivable plane) getting closer to production (though there are doubters), the company has released plans for the TF-X, which looks like the flying car of our dreams. The plans call for a hybrid electric fully-automated transforming car that can take-off and land vertically, travel 200 mph, and not require a pilots license. Flying cars are apparently hot again, with crowdfunded efforts, a mysterious Silicon Valley startup Zee.Aero, the UK's AugustWestland, and the AirMule getting into the game; all while Terrafugia is also developing a "flying humvee" for the military. Of course, we have seen this all before, including one of the first flying cars, which was built around a Ford Pinto and killed its inventors.
Video: the Terrafugia Transition flying car goes for a drive and a flight. Press release. Previously. This is the first demonstrated flight of the vehicle at significant altitude (above ground effect).
First came the Whatsit/Arrowplane (1936) ("Model T's of the air for the common man") and the Arrowbile Flying Auto, three of which were flown to the National Air Races in 1937. Both were creations of Waldo Waterman. Then came Molt Taylor's Aerocar (a great success), followed by the Waterman Aerobile (a spectacular failure). In 1945, Robert Fulton introduced the Airphibian, and the CIA ordered several. Flash forward to today. There have been many promising flying cars. Terrafugia is marketing a $194,000 "drivable plane" which it intends to release in late 2009. It hasn't yet been test-flown. So why is it being heralded by media outlets as the "World's First Flying Car"? [more inside]
A newer, slightly more plausible flying car project. Some people take it more seriously than the king of vaporware skycars, whose designers are now working on a vaporware landspeeder(PDF). If you want something more available, keep your car and check out the Cessna SkyCatcher, no assembly required.