Thursday, February 21, 2013

Thursday in History: It's the 21st Dang Century recently bought a bumper sticker (to giggle about, not to actually put on my car) that says: “This thing should fly by now; seriously, c’mon, it’s the 21st dang century!” If I were bold enough, I would actually put it on my car, and then I could giggle at myself every time I got in it to drive somewhere. And I could daydream about it sprouting wings and not having to worry about traffic or having to stop at the light at the intersection of North Cotner and Vine.
The idea of having a personal flying car is not a new thing. We’ve been thinking about flying cars since the invention of the car. Probably before that. Actually, definitely before that. Ever heard the Greek myths about Pegasus? I guess that would technically be flying transportation, but the point is that humans have always wanted to fly. It would be awesome to just walk out of your house, get into your vehicle, and cruise off into the skies. “Roads? Where we’re going, we don’t need... roads.” 21st 1937 was the inital flight of the Arrowbile, the world’s first successful flying car. It was designed by a man who wanted to be the Henry Ford of the air. Waldo Waterman was designing aircraft when he was only 15, and it continued to be his passion throughout his life. Even though the Arrowbile didn’t turn out to be “the Model-T of the air,” it still looks pretty cool. There were only five ever produced, and only because Waterman’s use of a Studebaker engine made that particular company eager to have their own Arrowbiles.
Although it’s sad that we can’t zoom to work in the morning in our very own personal aircraft, in some ways, not having flying cars is a good thing. Can you imagine the traffic? Air traffic is a mess as it is with commercial vehicles, so allowing private citizens into the mix would just be horrific.
And then there’s always the problem of designing a bumper sticker that would stay on the vehicle during flight.

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