FLYING CARS THAT AREN’T FLYING CARS AT ALL: Our Annual Disappointment Once More

NBC news is excited to announce the unveiling of flying cars. That aren't flying cars.

What it is, actually, is a form of helicopter, or a chopper/plane hybrid, you can hire as a kind of taxi. It's vaguely plane-shaped, but can hover and land like a helicopter. It doesn't look like a car. It's far too big to be regarded as a car. It cannot fit in a garage. It's just a sleek helicopter. Companies in most big towns hire out choppers for short trips, anyway, so even the taxi part isn't a new development. Heli-taxis are not unknown.

"Flying cars" have been spit-sprayingly enthused over for the benefit of the cognitively impaired for some time now. Almost every year they're announced. They're never flying cars. A proper flying car, if you're looking for the pulp-redolent science-fictional standard, will not use rotors or props--it could conceivably use adjustable jets, something like the VTOL (Vertical Take-Off and Landing) military aircraft, but smaller, or it might use some innovative form of lift, such as a magnified casimir effect or perhaps the electromagnetic field repulsors the elderly will recall from Dick Tracy strips. It's not going to be a jumped-up gyrocopter. It should be something no bigger than a modern Cadillac at most. Don't look for it soon. And stop babbling about the exciting new flying cars when we haven't got any.