I don’t want a flying car

I built a lot of vehicles when I was a kid.

I built a wooden go-cart with wagon wheels, which I would race down the hill by my elementary school. I hooked another one up to an old lawnmower which would drag me around the neighborhood at 5 miles an hour. I even jerry-rigged a wooden recumbent bicycle.

One vehicle I dreamed of building was a bike-boat: a bike that I could ride directly into the water and keep going. I labored over a design, complete with boogie boards for floatation and a gearing system for the propeller. The front wheel would double as a rudder. It was going to be amazing.

But I never built it. Probably mostly because my dad, my major source for parts and engineering talent, wasn’t so excited about my design. At the time I couldn’t understand why.

Probably because it was a dumb idea.

The best vehicles are highly-specialized for their purpose. We have so many different kinds of bikes and so many different kinds of cars because they each have slightly-different purposes. Add an inch of height to a car and it doesn’t handle quite as well; add an inch of legroom and it’s harder to park. Tradeoffs are costly.

Building the bike-boat would have destroyed my bike to turn it into a crappy boat. Imagine riding a bike-boat into the wind, or pedaling a boat with wheels dragging in the water.

So when I see something like this, I just think, dumb idea. It’ll be a crappy car and a crappy plane.

I don’t want a flying car. I want traveling by plane to be a whole lot easier.