April 19

The thought of commuting to work by air has tickled everyone’s imagination for decades.  The vision became part of pop culture in the 60s with George Jetson zipping to and from his office at Spacely Space Sprockets (yes, I am dating myself).  F.Y.I., because of the show’s popularity, new episodes were made between 1985-87.  But I digress…

Sci-fi has now met reality, with a variety of honest-to-goodness flying vehicles emerging on the scene.  Lightweight composite materials, GPS navigation, and flexibility by the FAA have given engineers the tools and technology to turn our skies into the next superhighway.

One of my favorites of the new crop of flying vehicles is the ingenious “Transition” by a company called Terrafugia.  The vehicle’s wings fold up, so you can drive it on ordinary roads (even park it in your garage).  And to hop into the sky, you just need to drive it to your local community airstrip, press a button to extend the wings – and voila – you’re in the cockpit of a two-seater airplane.

The Transition is more than an engineer’s dream.  It’s flying — now — and the company is taking $10K deposits for orders (they anticipate the selling price to be between $200 – $250K).  Sure, that’s multiples more than even a luxury automobile.  But, hey, it’s not just a car — it’s an airplane.

I believe we’re getting an early glimpse of the future of air travel.  See what you think.  Check out the company’s Web site at http://www.terrafugia.com.  Don’t miss the couple-minute video of an actual test flight.  Very cool.

P.S. For those of you who’d like to walk down memory lane, with bios and images of the Jetson’s family — George, wife Jane, daughter Judy, son Elroy, Rosie the robot, and…of course…Astro the family dog — check out the well-prepared information at Wikipedia:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Jetsons