In a video that's part test-flight footage, part commercial — we've spared you the "plot" portion in which a woman says she'll meet her friends for dinner in two-minutes flat — the company Kitty Hawk is teasing one of several personal aircraft prototypes it's developed. Named for the site of the Wright Brothers' first successful flight in Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, the vehicle might strike viewers as more Da Vinci flying machine, or a large drone with a person in it instead of a camera.
Nevertheless, the term "flying car" is being bandied about by the Mountain View-based company and the press. In fact, the device, which goes about 25 miles per hour in the video, "looks and feels a lot like a flying motorcycle," according to a Medium article/testimonial from the woman who flew it in the commercial. According to the New York Times, that was filmed in Clear Lake, CA.
"The Flyer is a radical new concept in flight," Cimeron Morrissey pitches the product she tested out. "It is meant for amateurs like me, doesn't require a license and took me just a few hours of training on a flight simulator to learn to fly it." You don't need a license to fly it because it falls under the Ultralight category of FAA regulations. That's supposed to be reassuring, apparently.
"You mount the seat and lean forward, just like you would on a bike," Morrisey explains. "The controls are built into a set of handlebars and work similar to buttons and joysticks on a video game controller. It takes off and lands vertically, like a helicopter. But unlike a helicopter, the Flyer is 100% electric and powered by eight rotors."
The Verge sounded a note of skepticism, referring to the Kitty Hawk as "an expensive toy for your next trip to the lake," which should make it a hit in Tahoe.
According to the Times, more than 12 start-ups are chasing the personal flying vehicle dream, with Uber and the government of Dubai entering the fray. Asked about the product, which is supposedly selling later this yea, the Google co-founder and Kitty Hawk investor didn't say much. “We’ve all had dreams of flying effortlessly," Page told the Times. "I’m excited that one day very soon I’ll be able to climb onto my Kitty Hawk Flyer for a quick and easy personal flight.”
Silicon Valley entrepreneur and consultant Brad Templeton told the paper that while he loves "the idea of being able to go out into my backyard and hop into my flying car," he hates the idea "of my next-door neighbor having one."
Either Templeton is hinting that these things are going to be loud and annoying, or saying that, in order to keep up with the Pages or whoever his neighbors are, he's going to need to get one himself. Is there even enough room in the garage next to the Teslas?