Pixel Tracker

Thursday, January 24 , 2019, 1:16 am | Fair 44º


Danny Tyree: Will the Sky Will Have Limits When We Have Flying Cars?

For the past two years, I’ve had the honor of driving my son to his middle school each morning.

Although we’re 50 miles away from the roadways mentioned, we listen to the morning traffic report on Nashville’s WWTN and make scatological wisecracks about all the “backups,” “pileups,” “slow movements,” etc.

By the time Gideon finishes college, traffic reports may be dramatically different — dealing more with ALTITUDE than attitude.

According to USA Today, several companies are already accepting pre-orders for high-tech FLYING CARS.

Some of the engineering marvels would require runways like an airplane; others would employ VTOL technology like a helicopter. Some would require a driver/pilot; others would be computer-controlled.

But all would turn our ideas about transportation upside down.

Slovakia-based AeroMobil is asking more than $1 million each for its inaugural vehicle, due out in three years. Obviously, such price tags will reek of conspicuous consumption and fan the flames of class warfare.

The first wave of owners may find themselves soaring above the traffic-jammed commoners and making proclamations such as, “Let them eat cake. Let them use SHORTER-RANGE AMMUNITION. Yikes! That last one was close!”

The affluent will enjoy the new toys for a spell; but unless they’re really safety-conscious, other aspects of their lifestyles will suffer. (“Darling, I found the perfect new nanny; but I flew a little too close, causing her to drop her umbrella and plummet to her death ...”)

I’m sure there are heart surgeons or A-list performers who could really benefit from the ability to complete a two-hour trip in 15 minutes; but for many buyers, it would be just a status symbol and a sign of impatience. (“I really, really need to zoom into the city to attend a meeting about the value of ... um, er ... TELECONFERENCING.”)

Sure, Uber is anxious to expand its ride-sharing service to flying cars, and mass production may eventually make ownership mainstream; but we risk opening a whole new can of worms.

Once we get to the “white trash” editions, “cloud storage” will take on a whole new meaning. Sky motorists will eye each Nimbostratus cloud warily, as it may harbor umpteen junker cars up on helium blocks.

Most people have at least a passing thought of “Wouldn’t it be neat to fly above the gridlock?”; but advertising agencies will have to be extra careful to seal the deal.

No retread of “Like a rock” quite works when you’re cruising way above the skyscrapers. “The Heartbeat of America” is OK — unless it morphs into “the Heartbeat of America As It Gets All White-Knuckled and Says Its Prayers.”

The flying cars will certainly change our idioms. Instead of fighting over who gets to ride “shotgun,” people will compete for the “​tailgunner” position. Insurers may dread the day when “hitting on all cylinders” gives way to “hitting on all Verizon towers.”

Someday “where the rubber meets the road” will become “Where the windshield meets the flock of Canadian geese.”

Federal regulators have a million questions to answer before flying cars become viable. Don’t be surprised if new rules require a pat-down and cavity search just to open the glove compartment.

The USA Today article arrives just weeks before the 90th anniversary of Charles Lindbergh’s historic flight. Future fliers will have their own hopes and dreams — mainly, “I hope the mechanic wasn’t drunk when the fuel gauge was instaaaaaaaaaaaaaaled ...”

— Satirical columnist Danny Tyree welcomes email responses at [email protected] and visits to his Facebook fan page Tyree’s Tyrades. He is syndicated by Cagle Cartoons. Click here to read previous columns. The opinions expressed are his own.

Support Noozhawk Today

You are an important ally in our mission to deliver clear, objective, high-quality professional news reporting for Santa Barbara, Goleta and the rest of Santa Barbara County. Join the Hawks Club today to help keep Noozhawk soaring.

We offer four membership levels: $5 a month, $10 a month, $25 a month or $1 a week. Payments can be made using a credit card, Apple Pay or Google Pay, or click here for information on recurring credit-card payments and a mailing address for checks.

Thank you for your vital support.

Become a Noozhawk Supporter

First name
Last name
Select your monthly membership
Or choose an annual membership

Payment Information

Membership Subscription

You are enrolling in . Thank you for joining the Hawks Club.

Payment Method

Pay by Credit Card:

Mastercard, Visa, American Express, Discover
One click only, please!

Pay with Apple Pay or Google Pay:

Noozhawk partners with Stripe to provide secure invoicing and payments processing.
You may cancel your membership at any time by sending an email to .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

  • Ask
  • Vote
  • Investigate
  • Answer

Noozhawk Asks: What’s Your Question?

Welcome to Noozhawk Asks, a new feature in which you ask the questions, you help decide what Noozhawk investigates, and you work with us to find the answers.

Here’s how it works: You share your questions with us in the nearby box. In some cases, we may work with you to find the answers. In others, we may ask you to vote on your top choices to help us narrow the scope. And we’ll be regularly asking you for your feedback on a specific issue or topic.

We also expect to work together with the reader who asked the winning questions to find the answer together. Noozhawk’s objective is to come at questions from a place of curiosity and openness, and we believe a transparent collaboration is the key to achieve it.

The results of our investigation will be published here in this Noozhawk Asks section. Once or twice a month, we plan to do a review of what was asked and answered.

Thanks for asking!

Click Here to Get Started >

Reader Comments

Noozhawk is no longer accepting reader comments on our articles. Click here for the announcement. Readers are instead invited to submit letters to the editor by emailing them to [email protected]. Please provide your full name and community, as well as contact information for verification purposes only.

Meet Your Realtor Sponsored by Village Properties

Photo of Dianne and Brianna Johnson
Dianne and Brianna Johnson
"We are committed to making our clients feel special by providing the concierge level service they deserve."

Full Profile >

Daily Noozhawk

Subscribe to Noozhawk's A.M. Report, our free e-Bulletin sent out every day at 4:15 a.m. with Noozhawk's top stories, hand-picked by the editors.

Sign Up Now >