Connect with us

Thai Life

Phuket Aviation: Hold your horses – flying car media frenzy is premature

Legacy Phuket Gazette

Published

 on

Phuket Aviation: Hold your horses – flying car media frenzy is premature | The Thaiger

PHUKET: There has been a great deal of buzz in the global aviation industry this month over the recent unveiling of the AeroMobil 3.0, hailed by many as a great leap forward in the race to create the world’s first practical, mass-produced “flying car”.

The concept of flying cars has certainly been around for a long time – almost as long as automobiles themselves. Back in 1940, Henry Ford was famously quoted as saying: “Mark my words: a combination airplane and motorcar is coming. You may smile, but it will come.”

Flying cars have also been a regular plot device in Hollywood movies over the years, starting with the 1968 hit film Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. The 1974 James Bond movie, The Man with the Golden Gun, filmed largely in Phang Nga Bay, also featured a real flying car owned by the distinguished assassin Francisco Scaramanga.

But perhaps the most enduring reminder that our futures would include flying cars came with the animated cartoon series, The Jetsons, which ran in various forms from 1962 to 1987.

There have been numerous attempts to create a commercial flying car, but while many prototypes have been produced and even taken to the air, Mr Ford’s prediction of an affordable, mass-produced model has remained unfulfilled – even a second decade into the new millennium.

Calvin of the cartoon series Calvin and Hobbes is just one of many characters, both real and imaginary, who have used the lack of flying cars to poke fun at the “woeful state” of current technology we all have to endure in the new millennium.

NEW BIRD ON THE BLOCK

The latest prototype creating all the buzz comes from the Slovakian firm AeroMobil, which last month released their latest version, the AeroMobil 3.0. Their sleek promotional video, with music by Vangelis, has already been viewed by over 4 million people on YouTube alone.

Its website reads, “AeroMobil is a flying car that perfectly makes use of existing infrastructure created for automobiles and planes, and opens doors to real door-to-door travel. As a car it fits into any standard parking space, uses regular gasoline, and can be used in road traffic just like any other car. As a plane it can use any airport in the world, but can also take off and land using any grass strip or paved surface just a few hundred meters long.”

While the video is decidedly impressive and well worth a look, it may be a while before flying cars become commonplace in the skies of Phuket, one local expert says.

Pat James, Safety and Flight Operations Manager at the privately run Phuket Airpark in Pa Khlok in Thalang, told Up In the Air that media fascination with any new prototype was “nothing new”, but said the technology is still a long way from making a practical, economical hybrid between an aircraft and motorcar.

“That kind of news comes and goes all the time. Weight is the key. If you have enough thrust, you can overcome the weight, but the engines that they are putting on them just are not enough,” he said. Having a car and an aircraft combined requires compromises in all facets. The comfort, the size, the engines; the list goes on,” he said.

Cars and planes are fundamentally different in that cars require downforce to operate while planes need lift. Some really innovative technology would be required to better bridge such a huge gap, he added.

The two-seater AeroMobil 3.0 is powered by the popular Rotax 912 mainly used in light aircraft. It has a top speed of over 200kmh and comprises a lightweight steel framework with carbon coating.

However, Pat thinks the weight factor will keep the 3.0 as a niche aircraft at best, and won’t be responsible for a Jetson-style revolution in transport.

“The Jetsons scenario won’t happen with current technology, but that does not mean something else won’t come around soon – very soon I hope – but it is not going to happen with the technology on the market right now,” he said.

“Sure, it is a step forward, but it is still not the answer for mass production of something that is going to be safe, dependable and reliable with performance figures. It’s going to be a niche-type product, and it still has a long way to go.”

Even the small components are going to need a lot more checking, because the weight versus the speed and power ratios are just not in place yet, said Pat, whose aerial experience includes having flown combat helicopters in the Vietnam War.

Asked to speculate on what he thought would happen in Thailand if the technological problems could be overcome and mass-production of flying cars became a reality, he said there were also major regulatory issues to overcome as well.

All aircraft in Thailand are restricted to taking off and landing at airports, and the procedure for buying a flying car would use the same six-month certification process as any other light aircraft. This would be a real drawback, especially compared to the ease with which one can buy a car and drive it off the lot, Pat pointed out.

Asked when he expected a flying car to join the growing and diverse fleet of private aircraft at Phuket AirPark, he was skeptical: “ten years, at the soonest”.

The AirPark could serve as a suitable launch site for such aircraft, but he did not foresee too many people going down that route any time soon.

“Who would want to go through all the regulatory hassles? They would be better off just buying an airplane. It would be a third of the cost and give much better performance,” he said.

The price of an AeroMobil 3.0 has still not been announced, but it is likely to fall under the old adage: “If you have to ask the price, you can’t afford one”.

However, after the unveiling of the 3.0 at the Pioneers Festival in Vienna in late October, AeroMobil co-founder Juraj Vaculik told Wired UK that the final price of the aircraft would be within reach of the wealthy: “somewhere between the cost of a supercar and a small plane,” he said.

Pat said that in Thailand, having a flying car would give buyers all of the hassles of airplane ownership, but few of the benefits it was designed to provide.

“It might make more sense for rich people in vast countries such as Australia and the United States, where aircraft are not required to land and take off only at registered airfields,” he said.

“I really like the concept, but the technology still has a long way to go,” he concluded.

— Somchai Huasaikul

Keep in contact with The Thaiger by following our Facebook page.

Archiving articles from the Phuket Gazette circa 1998 - 2017. View the Phuket Gazette online archive and Digital Gazette PDF Prints.

Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Business

Out of 37 countries, Thailand has the worst pension system, says Bloomberg

May Taylor

Published

on

Out of 37 countries, Thailand has the worst pension system, says Bloomberg | The Thaiger

Thai Residents reports that on Sunday, Bloomberg published an article on the world’s best pension systems, using information gathered from the 2019 Melbourne Mercer Global Pensions Index.

The survey looked at the pension systems of 37 countries with metrics including employee rights, savings, the number of homeowners, growth of assets, and growth of the economy. The purpose of the analysis was to determine what was needed to improve state pension systems and to gauge the level of confidence citizens had in their state pension system.

The Netherlands and Denmark were found to have the world’s best state pensions, with Australia, Finland, Sweden, Norway, Singapore, New Zealand, Canada, and Chile next. Out of all 37 countries, Thailand finished last, with what the report described as an extremely ineffective and ambiguous system.

“Thailand was in the bottom slot and should introduce a minimum level of mandatory retirement savings and increase support for the poorest.”

Out of 37 countries, Thailand has the worst pension system, says Bloomberg | News by The Thaiger

Photo: WorkpointNews

Thai Residents states that only those employed within the government system in Thailand are eligible for a pension based on salary. For most Thai citizens, pension amounts vary from 600 baht to 1,000 baht a month, depending on the recipient’s age.

A report carried out by The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) advises Thai citizens to have at least 4 million baht saved by the time they retire, but Thai Residents reports that 60% of Thai retirees have less than 1 million baht in savings, with one in three citizens who have reached retirement age are forced to continue working in order to survive.

SOURCE: thairesidents.com

Keep in contact with The Thaiger by following our Facebook page.
Continue Reading

Bangkok

Tax on salt content being considered

Greeley Pulitzer

Published

on

Tax on salt content being considered | The Thaiger

The Excise Department is considering imposing a tax on the salt content of food to encourage food producers to reduce the sodium content of snacks, instant noodles and seasoning cubes.

The director of the Office of Tax Planning said that the department is discussing a limit on the amount of sodium food can contain, in line with the standard set by the World Health Organization (WHO), which is 2,000 milligrams of salt per day.

In reality, Thai people consume an average of 1,000 milligrams per meal, making their daily intake well above WHO guidelines, according to the director.

He said any tax imposed would be at a level which would encourage food producers to reduce the sodium in their processed food without being punitive, adding that the proposal isn’t intended to generate more tax revenue, but to help protect the health of consumers. Excessive sodium in the diet can lead to high blood pressure and kidney disease.

Fish sauce, soy sauce and salt would not be taxed.

SOURCE: thaipbsworld.com

Keep in contact with The Thaiger by following our Facebook page.
Continue Reading

News

Water shortage warnings in 22 provinces

Greeley Pulitzer

Published

on

Water shortage warnings in 22 provinces | The Thaiger

People living in 22 Thai provinces are being warned to prepare for shortages of drinking water during the upcoming dry season, due to start on November 1st.

The warning was issued by the National Water Resources Office, citing low levels in reservoirs, which are the main sources for tap water production waterworks in 22 provinces.

Areas at risk identified by the office are in northern, north-eastern, eastern and southern provinces.

Measures have been adopted by agencies charged with dealing with water shortages. including dredging water channels to allow greater volumes of water to flow into reservoirs, drilling underground wells, enlarging storage ponds and the purchase of water to supply to those in urgent need.

The Royal Irrigation Department has announced that people should use water sparingly.

There are currently about 6 billion cubic metres of usable water in reservoirs in the affected provinces, with 5 billion cubic metres reserved for consumption and ecological preservation, leaving only 1 billion cubic metres for use in agriculture.

This means farmers in the Chao Phraya river basin may not be able to grow a second crop of rice this year.

SOURCE: thaipbsworld.com

Keep in contact with The Thaiger by following our Facebook page.
Continue Reading

The Thaiger Newsletter

Keep up with all the day’s news. Subscribe here.

The latest news and information from Thailand.

* indicates required
สรุปดราม่า “หนังน้องเดียว ลูกทุ่งวัฒนธรรม” เล่นหนังตะลุง “ด่าพระสงฆ์” | The Thaiger
ข่าว2 days ago

สรุปดราม่า “หนังน้องเดียว ลูกทุ่งวัฒนธรรม” เล่นหนังตะลุง “ด่าพระสงฆ์”

ม็อบ “สมัชชาคนจน” เดินเท้าถึงทำเนียบ กดดันรัฐบาลไม่จริงใจ [Live] | The Thaiger
ข่าวการเมือง3 days ago

ม็อบ “สมัชชาคนจน” เดินเท้าถึงทำเนียบ กดดันรัฐบาลไม่จริงใจ [Live]

ชมวาทะเด็ดธนาธร ให้การศาลรัฐธรรมนูญ คดีวีลัค ทำงานการเมืองเพราะอยากเปลี่ยนแปลงสังคม | The Thaiger
ข่าวการเมือง6 days ago

ชมวาทะเด็ดธนาธร ให้การศาลรัฐธรรมนูญ คดีวีลัค ทำงานการเมืองเพราะอยากเปลี่ยนแปลงสังคม

ตรวจหวย 16/10/62 รางวัลที่ 1 เลขท้าย 2 ตัว 3 ตัว เลขหน้า 3 ตัว และรางวัลอื่น ๆ | The Thaiger
ตรวจหวย1 week ago

ตรวจหวย 16/10/62 รางวัลที่ 1 เลขท้าย 2 ตัว 3 ตัว เลขหน้า 3 ตัว และรางวัลอื่น ๆ

ตรวจหวย 16 ตุลาคม 2562 ผลสลากกินแบ่งรัฐบาล 16/10/62 | The Thaiger
ตรวจหวย1 week ago

ตรวจหวย 16 ตุลาคม 2562 ผลสลากกินแบ่งรัฐบาล 16/10/62

ถ่ายทอดสด “สลากกินแบ่งรัฐบาล” 16 ตุลาคม 2562 ลุ้นรางวัลที่ 1 สด ๆ | The Thaiger
ตรวจหวย1 week ago

ถ่ายทอดสด “สลากกินแบ่งรัฐบาล” 16 ตุลาคม 2562 ลุ้นรางวัลที่ 1 สด ๆ

หนุ่มแท็กซี่ฉาว ท้าต่อยเจ้าของธุรกิจเต๊นท์ กลางงานสนามหลวง | The Thaiger
ข่าว1 week ago

หนุ่มแท็กซี่ฉาว ท้าต่อยเจ้าของธุรกิจเต๊นท์ กลางงานสนามหลวง

ไทยแชมป์วอลเลย์บอลอาเซียนกรังด์ปรีซ์สนาม 2 รางวัลรายบุคคล | The Thaiger
วอลเลย์บอล2 weeks ago

ไทยแชมป์วอลเลย์บอลอาเซียนกรังด์ปรีซ์สนาม 2 รางวัลรายบุคคล

ตรวจหวย1ตุลาคม2562 ผลรางวัลที่ 1 เลขท้าย 2 ตัว 3 ตัว เลขหน้า 3 ตัว และรางวัลอื่น ๆ | The Thaiger
ตรวจหวย3 weeks ago

ตรวจหวย1ตุลาคม2562 ผลรางวัลที่ 1 เลขท้าย 2 ตัว 3 ตัว เลขหน้า 3 ตัว และรางวัลอื่น ๆ

ถ่ายทอดสดหวย 1 ตุลาคม 2562 ลุ้นรางวัลที่ 1 สลากกินแบ่งรัฐบาล | The Thaiger
ตรวจหวย3 weeks ago

ถ่ายทอดสดหวย 1 ตุลาคม 2562 ลุ้นรางวัลที่ 1 สลากกินแบ่งรัฐบาล

สีจิ้นผิงกล่าวสุนทรพจน์ ครบรอบ 70 ปีก่อตั้งสาธารณรัฐประชาชนจีน -ลิงก์ถ่ายทอดสด | The Thaiger
ต่างประเทศ3 weeks ago

สีจิ้นผิงกล่าวสุนทรพจน์ ครบรอบ 70 ปีก่อตั้งสาธารณรัฐประชาชนจีน -ลิงก์ถ่ายทอดสด

คลิปไฮไลท์วอลเลย์บอลเวิลด์คัพ 2019 นัดที่ 5 | The Thaiger
วอลเลย์บอล1 month ago

คลิปไฮไลท์วอลเลย์บอลเวิลด์คัพ 2019 นัดที่ 5

คลิปไฮไลท์ วอลเลย์บอลเวิลด์คัพ 2019 นัดที่ 1 | The Thaiger
วอลเลย์บอล1 month ago

คลิปไฮไลท์ วอลเลย์บอลเวิลด์คัพ 2019 นัดที่ 1

Paramount เตรียมรีเมค FACE/OFF หนังบู๊ระดับตำนาน | The Thaiger
หนัง1 month ago

Paramount เตรียมรีเมค FACE/OFF หนังบู๊ระดับตำนาน

ประยุทธ์ โต้ รัฐบาลไหนก็มีตำหนิทั้งนั้น “ถึงเวลาก็อ้างอย่างที่ผมอ้าง” | The Thaiger
ข่าวการเมือง1 month ago

ประยุทธ์ โต้ รัฐบาลไหนก็มีตำหนิทั้งนั้น “ถึงเวลาก็อ้างอย่างที่ผมอ้าง”

Trending