Come Fly With Me

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Once I get you up there where the air is rarified
We'll just glide, starry-eyed
Once I get you up there I'll be holding you so near
You may hear angels cheer 'cause we're together

Yeah, baby! So sings Sinatra...

The first movie I remember seeing in a movie theater was "Chitty Chitty Bang Bang."  I liked it so much that I wanted to see it again, like the next day.  My parents, of course, were not so enthusiastic, and before long, the movie was gone from the theater.  The era of Blu-ray, DVDs, VCRs, or even cable TV were years away.  Soon after I saw the movie, the theater itself was gone, and I remember passing it for years remembering that I had seen a really good movie there that had a really creepy kidcatcher. 

A bad man! Very bad!

Fortunately, he wasn't seen anytime soon after in my neighborhood, and kids don't dwell on creepy kidcatchers, especially when more fanciful material is at hand.  Instead it was that spiffy car that sprouted wings on opportune moments, such as when a person happens to drive off a seaside cliff towards the unforgiving boulders far below.  (Honorable mention certainly went to Mad Ludwig's Castle and the desirability of a cool bedroom in the tower). 

chitty_chitty_bang_bang

One of the more prevalent memories from those early years was driving around in my parents brown Chevy station wagon, going on errand after errand after errand.  Still, that was the golden age for riding in a car, in that kids had free roaming rights in the backseat and the rear storage area.  Then someone figured out that seatbelts mattered.

Still, with it's sticky vinyl seats, it was an unsurprising place for the mind to wander to a happier place... with flying cars.

Step forward 41 years...

Terrafugia in flight

It doesn't quite have that "old world" charm of the Mr. Pott's snazzy roadster, and, as yet, there's no obvious spare tire.  Still, it's promising enough satisfy the middle ground of expectations, that being until we get something closer to the ultimate commuting vehicle of fantasy, George's simple but elegant ride.

The Jetsons

Still, for around $150,000, you too can soon (well, "soon" is likely to be defined differently when this actually arrives) Transition yourself above the lowly and congested highways.  At 30 mpg (regular unleaded gas, even!) and approximately 110mph airspeed, the Terrafugia "Transition" is designed to land at airports, and, like your favorite Transformer, convert to a car within 15 seconds. 

Terrafugia on the road

Yeah, it's a little unsightly (if a VW Beetle is a "bug," maybe this is a Spider), but it's better than having your wings clipped in traffic.

The Transition just finished proof-of-concept air flights but has three more rounds of development and approvals before it becomes available to park in your garage.  But, you can reserve one now for (only) $10,000 if you want to be the first on your block to lead the way to the future.

If your summer offers some free time, you might as well beat the rush and enroll in some flight training courses as the Transition requires a sports-pilot license.  I know the more savvy buyers are awaiting word on the more critical elements: The number, placing, and size of cup holders is as yet unknown, and there's no word yet on a convertible option.

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