Flying to a four-wheeled future

It’s been a fixture of handyman- and science-type magazines almost since the days of the Wright brothers: A smudgy drawing of a car that can unfold wings and take to the air, right from your driveway. As most of us know, it’s a concept that hasn’t proven practical to this point, although bright-eyed inventors keep trying. One of the latest attempts to blend two dissimilar transportation modes is going on a short-term display at the Petersen Automotive Museum on Wilshire Boulevard in Los Angeles, running – flying? – through April 1st.

The AeroMobil, to use its proper name with an upper-case M, is the world’s first commercially marketed flying automobile, with a 30-foot wingspan, a claimed in-flight range of 460 miles and a powertrain consisting of a turbocharged gasoline engine and adaptive transmission. Unlike most such previous creations, the AeroMobil will incorporate a ballistic recovery parachute that the developers say will let the craft drift to earth in case of a power loss or other emergency. Buyers and investors are being sought now. An RSVP will be required to view the flying car at the museum.

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