Xpeng Flying Prototype

According to the company, the X2 is the first eVTOL to receive such a permit in the entire country, allowing XPeng AeroHT to continue development on its way to mass-production of eVTOL products like its sixth-generation flying car scheduled for production next year.

Since its inception in 2013, AeroHT has conducted over 15,000 safe flights with the goal of combining automotive and aerospace technologies to develop safe domestic electric flying vehicles at scale.

I guess the above might make the morning commute bearable. Until the sky becomes saturated with flying cars.

General aviation (small, privately owned aircraft) has a saying, “Time to spare, go by air.” That’s because small planes (e.g. Cessnas) are often piloted by VFR-rated (Visual Flight Rules) pilots. There are many safety regulations pertaining to the pilots, the aircraft and the weather situations allowing them to fly. Including visibility, cloud altitude and many more which can delay flights. Most amateur private pilots don’t have the equipment, training and constant practice needed to safely fly IFR (Instrument Flight Rules).

General aviation is heavily regulated in controlled airspace (near large airports where most people want to fly due to transportation connections) because small, slow planes don’t mix well with large planes, especially super-heavy commercial jets. There are lots of small airports in uncontrolled airspace but they are usually far from transportation.

DH and I flew our Cessna 150 and 177 Cardinal (yes, we owned two airplanes for a while) for 10 years. DH was a superior pilot but still flew VFR. We flew from coast to coast and from the Bahamas to Alaska. I earned my pilot’s license but didn’t enjoy flying solo. We carried bicycles and camping equipment in the Cardinal. DH took out the back seats and I tailored a foam mattress that fit into the back of the plane so we could sleep in it if we wanted to. The Cessna 150 was too small to carry bikes (similar to a commuter “flying car”) so we were stuck on foot wherever we flew.

All of this is to say that the “flying car” may be a wonderful vehicle in every way. Even if it is it would be impractical as a commuter vehicle in significant numbers. The limitations of the pilots, the weather conditions and crowding of the invisible roads in the sky would make it unsafe for the vast majority of commuters. Non-pilots don’t grok the differences between the myriad requirements for safe flight and the relatively low bar for safe driving.

As pilots sometimes say, “I’d rather be on the ground wishing I was in the air than in the air wishing I was on the ground.”