Terrafugia, Where Is My 1909 Wilbur Wright Moment?

Back on January 13, I wrote with some excitement about the first planned test flight of a flying car, the Terrafugia Transition, which was scheduled for this February. Well, February’s finished. Where the fuck was that launch anyway? I went to their website and under “News and Media” I didn’t get word of a launch, I got a picture of the Transition underneath what I think is a Tyrannosaurus Rex.

Their slim “Breaking News” section featured an article about the company COO, chosen as a “Woman to Watch” by some fucking organization, I don’t know which one.

There is no more glaring understatement than to say that the wider automotive industry has a serious accountability problem, I know this. So I don’t know what pains me more, the fact that there was no launch, or the fact that I got suckered again by this industry’s penchant for shooting its hype in our faces like the end of a porno.

I just wanted this one more than others. It’s not like I’m one of the company’s 40 pre-paid owners, it’s unlikely I’ll ever be able to afford one or get a pilot’s license to fly one—shit, I can’t even say I’d fly in one without first swallowing a handful of Xanax with a Klonapin chaser.

That’s all immaterial. Flying cars, roadable vehicles, PAVs, call them what you want, they’re fucking exciting. They’re audacious and outrageous and the stuff of Sci Fi since like the 1930s. But since hearing about the test launch, I’ve had one particular image in my head:

In October 1909 at the Hudson-Fulton celebrations in New York City, Wilbur Wright flew the first plane up the Hudson then circled the Statue of Liberty, dazzling over a million spellbound New Yorkers who had turned out to watch. It’s a heartstopping image, with all the magic and daring and ingenuity of flight in a single moment.

Terrafugia’s launch won’t even get close to that, but as a flying car it is heir to that magic, like Sputnik and Apollo and Columbia.

So c’mon people, get that big bird in the air!

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