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Aviation

Published on June 16th, 2017 | by Nicolas Zart

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The Evolution of Electric Mobility (#VTOL Animations)

June 16th, 2017 by  


Flying cars, electric airplanes, flying electric cars, vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) vehicles, and other e-mobility solutions are fascinating. But, essentially, I’m a visual person and I need a visual timeline to put together the pieces.

Having said that, Ryan Taylor sent me these animated GIFs that plot the evolution of various flying machines. Check out what the design staff over at partcatalog.com have come up with below.

The Hybrid Airplane-Car VTOL

The flying car animated picture below is a mashup of the following flying cars.

  • 1917 Curtiss Autoplane
  • 1937 Waterman Aerobile
  • 1947 ConVairCar Model 118
  • 1966 Aero-Car
  • 1971 AVE Mizar
  • 2009 Terrafugia Transition
  • 2014 AeroMobil 3.0
  • 2017 AeroMobil 4.0

The Heli-Car VTOL

Helicopters have been around a long time. In fact, the first helicopter accepted as such was the Focke-Wulf Fw 61, created in 1936. Sikorsky later mastered helicopters. The term “helicopter” comes from hélicoptère in French, after Gustave Ponton d’Amécourt coined it in 1861. He took it from the Greek helix. It didn’t take long for someone to imagine a car with a helicopter rotor above it, also a flying car.

Here is the list of the heli-car mashup.

  • 1923 Pitcairn PCA-2
  • 1936 Autogiro Company of America AC-351
  • 965 Wagner Aerocar
  • 2012 PAL-V

VTOL Hover Bikes

Hover bikes, such as the Kitty Hawk project, have had a good start this year. It’s not that far a stretch to see these become a part of the skyscape in a decade after the flying coordination bugs have been worked out, hopefully with as few fatalities as possible.

Here is the list of the hover-bike mashup.

  • 1958 Curtiss-Wright VZ-7
  • 1959 Chrysler VZ-6
  • 1962 Piasecki VZ-8 Airgeep
  • 2008 Aeroflex Hover Bike
  • 2017 Kitty Hawk Flyer

VTOL Flying Saucers

There are many VTOL vehicles taking to the air in 2017. We covered the Lilium program, Urban Aeronautics, and a whole list of others. A great contender in this space is the AeroMobil 4.0, which you’ll see at the end of this animation.

Here is the list of the VTOL flying saucer (or something like that) mashup.

  • 1962 Moller XM-2
  • 1989 Moller M200X
  • 1990 Sky Commuter
  • 2003 Moller M400 Sky-car
  • 2009 Urban Aeronautics X-Hawk
  • 2021 Terrafugia TF-X

We hope you enjoyed this little break and that it fires up a few neurons and synapses to maybe help you think of the next greatest thing. Just remember us as the website that got you going when you receive the Nobel Prize. 🙂





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About the Author

Nicolas was born and raised in classic cars of the 1920s. It wasn't until he drove one of the first Tesla Roadsters that the light went on. Eager to spread the news of that full torque, he started writing in 2007. Since then, his passion led to cover renewable energy, test drives, podcasts, shoot pictures, and film for various international outlets both in print and online. Nicolas offers an in-depth look at the e-mobility world through interviews and the many contacts he has forged in those industries. Today he focuses most of his writing effort on CleanTechnica, a global online outlet that covers the world of electric vehicles and renewable energy. His favorite tagline is: "There are more solutions than obstacles."



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