A number of "carplanes" have recently appeared on the market or will be appearing soon. The purpose of this site is to contrast and compare these vehicles and to provide the latest information on each. It is an unbiased site that is not funded by any of the manufacturers.
Edited by Jeffrey W. Buckholz, PhD, P.E., PTOE
The first carplane to have these key characteristics should dominate the market for awhile. As I see it, the major problem in bringing a carplane to market is the genral lack of capital funding. It takes a lot of money to finance such an endeavor and most of the organizations struggling with carplane design and production just don't have deep pockets. When Boeing, GM, Apple or some similar organization gets involved, things will change - and that may be starting to happen: Airbus Flying Car Ready by end of 2017? There have also appeared articles that indicate Uber is looking at flying vehicles (Uber Elevate) as well as Google. Not sure if these are carplanes or just passenger-carrying drones but something is happening with the "big boys".
It is important to keep in mind the two basic problems that carplanes solve: the last mile problem and the weather problem. Solving the last mile problem is accomplished through a carplane's ability to drive from the destination airport to your final desired location (and to the airport of origin from your point of beginning). Solving the weather problem is accomplished by the carplane's ability to land and drive through bad whether; and bad weather can be defined as anything from low cloud ceilings to high winds to thunderstorms. Carplanes solve both of these problems without any backtracking. You can always land your general aviation aircraft and rent a car to get to your final desired location, and this is doable even if the weather deteriorates. However, you're plane will be back at the airport and, at some point, you will have to backtrack to get it. This is not a big deal if you're going back to where you came from but it is a big deal if you're headed in a different direction. There is considerable travel freeedom associated with a carplane that other modes of travel do not provide.
If a carplane does not solve both of these problems, then its really not a carplane. For example, pretty soon we are going to have drones that, through ducted fan technology, will be able to transport people directly from their point of beginning to their ultimate destination (in many cases, not all). This solves the last mile problem (in many cases, not all) but does not solve the weather problem. You can solve the weather problem without a carplane by simply waiting, or by risking your life and flying, but neither of these two options is very attractive.
If you want to see how people misunderstand the above discussion, read this article on the VOLOCOPTER. The volocopter is not a flying car because, although it may solve the last mile problem, it does not solve the weather problem.
The importance of being able to drive (without having to backtrack) when such driving is needed cannot be underestimated. Unflyable weather is relatively common and is not limited to thunderstorms. Many weather-related items can cause your trip to be delayed or canceled or, worse yet, can get you and your airplane stuck at some distant airport. Fog, high winds, high density altitude and even simple cloud cover (if you are not instrument rated - and most general aviation pilots aren't) can ground you. Medical conditions, prescription drug use, emotional trauma, or even simple fatigue can also ground you whereas one can drive under most of these conditions. Also, many private pilots don't like flying at night even if the weather is good - with a carplane a pilot could switch to driving at night. A carplane provides maximum transportation flexibility while avoiding the need to cancel a trip or spend a few days stuck in nowheresville. Drones, at least the current ones, cannot blast there way through bad weather and they can't be driven so they do not provide the same level of transportation flexibility that carplanes do. This distinction needs to be understood.