See Inside September 2009

Flying Car

A long-standing dream

If only my car could fly! Who has not uttered this cry in traffic? But what motivated the people who began designing flying cars near the turn of the 20th century?

Most aviation pioneers of the time were thinking not in terms of flight alone but of “personal mobility” and getting cars to take wing, according to John Brown, editor of the Internet magazine Roadable Times. In fact, he notes, “the true brilliance” of the Wright Brothers—who demonstrated sustained, controlled powered flight at Kitty Hawk, N.C., in 1903—was their decision to concentrate solely on flying and “forget about the roadability part.”

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