Cars With Benefits
Student pilot flight training can make you do odd things. The proof is in the number of times I pulled back on my car’s steering wheel in an attempt (usually futile) to climb over other cars. This always embarrassed me in front of my passengers, who would respond with derision at my delusion. I simply ignored them and adjusted my leather helmet, scarf and goggles.
Well, the mocking is over and in its place is the healing power of sweet revenge—a revenge best served told. That’s why I’m telling everyone about the benefits of the car that can climb over other cars—the flying car.
Today’s technology makes it possible to combine the essential qualities of an airplane with the practical features of the automobile. Won’t this mean that all the good stuff on a car comes standard on your aircraft? I don’t see why not. It is, after all, part car. So a pilot will be able to toot his own horn while airborne, rather than having to wait to get back to the hangar! Honk your flying car’s horn if you think that’s a good idea.
Imagine the possibilities the next time someone has the urge to merge downwind at a 90-degree angle. Express yourself. Honk! Honk! Honk! A blast of the horn should activate his mental protractor and immediately improve his in-flight geometry skills.
Caution is advised, however. Given the horn’s traditional placement on the wheel, a good honk is sure to result in your flying car suddenly pitching into a nose down descent. So expect a big honking AD for a yoke placard that reads, “Low altitude honking is hazardous to your health,” or, “Honk if you love Jesus, but only if you want to meet him.”
Then again, honking to awaken a slow-mo Piper Cub from its hibernation on the downwind leg might attract birds. I’m thinking big birds, perhaps even geese (they honk too, you know). Well, fear not. You’re armed with BCAS—the bumper collision avoidance system. You’ll never need to worry about goose bumps again because birds are afraid of bumpers, especially when they see them in unexpected places, such as in the air.
Speaking of birds, if one decides to release its secret weapon of mass visibility reduction on your windscreen, don’t fret. Just activate the windshield wipers. I suspect that all flying cars will have them. You’ll be VFR again, in no time.
As a bonus, those wipers swishing to and fro look like radar. OK, they don’t actually work like radar, but they look like radar to your passengers, and that will comfort them. But do brag to everyone on board about your radar altimeter. That would be your flying car’s AM radio. If ceilings force you earthward, you’ll know you’re too low when you lose the signal from a distant station. Pulling up at that time would be advisable, especially if you hear honking from flying cars on the freeway that were smart enough to drive that day.
Did you know that the flying car is four… no, wait, a billion times safer than an airplane? It’s true. Flying cars have anti-skid systems, and what ham-footed pilot wouldn’t find that useful? A skidding turn, after all, is a turn for the worst. When another flying car in the pattern turns without signaling, miffed pilots have every right to lie on the horn. Unfortunately, they often lie on the rudder, too. Since they probably haven’t read their horn placard, they may find themselves 100 feet above the ground in a nasty skid. Should they be concerned? Not as long as they keep their flying car’s anti-skid system properly maintained. Take care of it and it takes care of you—sort of a skid pro quo. And if you believe that driving is safer than flying, how can flying a car not be the ultimate in safe transportation? The logic is impeccable and I shall entertain no challenges on the matter.
Unfortunately, the flying car is such a good thing for pilots that the FAA is sure to rewrite the regulations, once they wise up. In today’s flying car, hit one switch and you’re transformed into an airplane, pronto. Hit the switch again, bingo, you’re a car once more (you’ll definitely want to read the placard next to that switch, the one labeled, Pronto-Bingo). This switch is your new best friend forever, especially when you see an FAA inspector racing over to ramp-check you. Hit the switch NOW! Clink, clunk, snap, bam, you’re a car again. “So sorry Mr. Inspector, I’m a car now and cars don’t need weight and balance papers. Excuse me, but my bumper and I have an appointment with a pigeon.” So expect to see a regulation that limits the pilot of a flying car from transforming into a car when an FAA inspector runs toward it.
A car that flies is definitely a car with benefits, and some will benefit more than others. I’m thinking GM here. Since the company now has all our money, let’s force it build flying cars. We’ll change the name to GAM (General Aviation Motors) and give the first production models exotic names, such as the “Exhaust Pipe-r Cub,” the “Station-air Wagon” or the “Skyhonk.” You make the call.