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The Boston Globe

Opinion

Carlo Rotella

Flying cars: Not just for escaping zombies

Terrafugia, a company based in Woburn, says it’s getting close to putting a flying car into production. Terrafugia’s Transition is really an airplane-that-rolls more than a car-that-flies, but still, you will be able to fly it between airports and also drive it on streets and highways. Among the features that can be yours for a list price of $279,000 are patented elecro-mechanical folding wings, an airframe parachute, all-wheel hydraulic disc brakes, and a golf club storage compartment. Also, the company’s promotional literature adds, “you can call it your ‘flying car.’ ”

This development should make any remaining fans of the future very happy. There used to be a lot more of them. As other commentators have recently pointed out, including Edward Rothstein of The New York Times and Virginia Postrel of Bloomberg, Americans used to be high on the future. Its reputation boomed during the first two-thirds of the 20th century, from the era of horseless carriages, skyscrapers, and global expansion through the golden age of World’s Fairs and science fiction, the rise of robotics and aviation, and the postwar era of “The Jetsons” and the space race, arriving at a climax in, say, 1969, the year of both the first moon landing and the final season of the original “Star Trek.”

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