Despite their potential, no one has managed to take them from flight of fancy to everyday reality
Tue 19 Jun 2018 06.00 BST
The 1940s Aerocar. Photograph: Museum of Flight Foundation/Corbis via Getty Images
In 1940, Henry Ford said: “Mark my words – a combination aeroplane and motor car is coming.” With flying taxis apparently on the way, it looks like he was right, but what a wait. Eight decades years later, “dude, where’s my flying car?” is shorthand for any stuff “they” promised us that we haven’t got.
We have always wanted to fly, so, as soon as cars came on to the scene, we wanted those to fly too. Early blueprints for the US interstate highway grid even had adjacent runways ready for flying cars. But those never came. Now that concept of the flying “car” seems quaint or naive, a 20th-century dream fuelled by decades of sci-fi and the Jetsons, as obsolete as the model T. Yet as we’ll see, something just as good may take its place ..