Remember when we were kids and we had this vision that someday everyone would be driving a flying car?
Maybe it started with Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and was influenced even more by the Jetsons. Wherever it started, I just knew in my lifetime the roads would be in the sky.
Well, we’re not quite there yet (don’t worry, my lifetime isn’t over), but there is a flying car on the market!
Granted, it’s $200,000, you need a pilot’s license to drive it, and there isn’t an infrastructure in the sky for flying cars, but it’s here.
And it’s gaining a lot of media attention.
Terrafugia (Latin for “escape the earth”) is being billed as a small aircraft that you land at the airport, “fold your wings up and drive home.”
It’s as simple as that, apparently!
But is it really just a big pile of spin?
First of all, it’s not really a flying car. It’s an airplane that drives like a car.
Secondly, there really is no infrastructure in the skies for a flying car. Sure, you can take off and land at an airport, but (in my mind) that defeats the purpose. I want to sit through a couple of lights, turn onto Lakeshore Drive, pick up some speed, and get up into the air. But there isn’t anything that exists up there to manage the traffic.
The guys who invented the flying car (er, driving airplane) are scientists. They don’t work with an agency. They didn’t expect the media response to their invention. I mean, their news releases are in PDF format on their website. They have NO idea what they’re doing, from a PR perspective.
Victor Cruz, principal at MediaPR, wrote last week:
Innovation makes the world go round, but innovation is mostly about exploring the end of a dead end road if its application is deemed impractical, unrealistic, unfeasible, eventually untenable, and in this case, groundless. It’s painful enough to get city hall to issue a permit for a backyard lawnmower shed. How does the Government regulate safety in the air at 1,400 feet? Where’s the green story and noise pollution story? The public won’t have it. They fight against wind turbines off Cape Cod. Many problems loom in the sky. Despite its sell-out of all 100 pre-orders, most people are probably smirking, “Not in my time.”
I agree innovation makes the world go round, but not that this won’t happen in our time. If these guys can build something people really want – even at $279,000 – it will force the FAA to create infrastructure in the sky.
If we were working with Terrafugia, we’d keep creating content around the flying car (er, driving airplane). We’d interview the 100 people who bought the car and develop video testimonials. We’d continue getting people excited in order to increase demand and force the FAA to pay attention.
It’s going to happen someday. Maybe it will be in our lifetime; maybe not. It’s a huge pipe dream – cars in the sky – and these guys believe they can do it.
If a PR firm believes it’s a better form of transportation, why not work to help these guys make it happen?