Sky Riders

November 13, 2017
Would you like to ride in the Joby S2? This flying car will seat two passengers. It will travel 200 miles per hour.
JOBY AVIATION

Do you dream of riding in a flying car? Your dream might come true.

Companies are racing to make flying cars a real transportation choice. The machines will fly themselves. Experts say that will make them safer than regular cars.

The Flying Taxi

Dubai is a city in the Middle East. People there could soon be flying to work in air taxis. The Ehang 184 can fly for 30 minutes. It runs on battery power. It holds one person. Air-taxi riders use an app on their phone to ask for a flight.

DOUBLE DUTY The Terrafugia Transition travels on land and in the sky.

TERRAFUGIA/BARCROFT CARS

The Ehang 184 is one of several new flying machines. Such machines are known as VTOLs. That stands for “vertical takeoff and landing.” VTOLs lift into the air with the help of electric fans. VTOLs are quieter and cleaner than helicopters.

Fast Forward

In the United States, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is in charge of air transportation. The FAA must do many things before it can approve VTOL flights. It must write safety rules. It also needs to come up with traffic rules. They are needed to make sure low-flying crafts don’t have accidents.

The FAA has approved the testing of a VTOL called the Transition. It runs on gas. It travels on the ground and in the air. The wings fold up when the vehicle is on the ground. They spread out for flight.

DREAM CAR The design of the TF-X is based on craft in science-fiction movies.

TERRAFUGIA/BARCROFT CARS

Carl Dietrich runs the company that makes the Transition. He says he wants to “make personal aviation a transportation option for everyone.” His company has also designed a VTOL called the TF-X. He thinks everyone will be able to own a TF-X one day. But it won’t be ready for at least 10 years.

For now, the world is watching to see how soon Dubai’s flying taxis get off the ground.