Can a "flying car" use aircraft plastic for its windshield when cars have to use glass?
Posted by David Brooks | Tuesday, May 1, 2012
I've written about Terrafugia, the Wobourn, Mass., company making a "roadable aircraft", many times over the years, but nonetheless I was interested in a recent NY Times story on the vehicle, concerning the boring but convoluted question of federal regulation:
Government officials and the designers have had to determine which regulations — aircraft or automotive — take precedence when the vehicle in question is both.
Compliance with National Highway Traffic Safety Administration crash standards will be done by submitting the results of computer-based simulations showing how the seat belts, crumple zones and crash structure performed. Terrafugia sought waivers from N.H.T.S.A. on two requirements. It obtained permission to use motorcycle tires and wheels, rather than truck-rated parts, to save weight, and it received approval to use polycarbonate plastics for the windows, rather than automotive glass, which could be shattered by a bird strike.
Also, the EPA is waiving auto emissions standards - for now, at least.
It's a good piece, with much information about other flying-car proposals, past and present. Read it here.