Friday, August 15, 2008

Terrafugia Transition - Driving Airplane or Flying Car?

Last weekend I saw this plane (or car) parked in front of building 40 at Google - the "Transition", made by Terrafugia. It's a "proof of concept" at this point, so they're not ready to ship the cars or even fly them. But of course, this being the US, you can already buy it, no worries. There's a recent video about the transition on YouTube that's pretty informative.

On the positive side, it will likely fly and drive, and overall looks better than earlier attempts at the "flying car". That is way cool! This would make it possible to get to Tahoe in a couple hours. Also, it looks a lot more interesting than a regular car - its folding wings beat convertibles or wing doors hands down.

Unfortunately though, it's a bit pricey - $148k, according to The MIT Technology Review. Besides, while it might be possible to get to Tahoe on a summer day with no strong winds over the Sierra, it is questionable whether this will be of any use on a typical powder day. Oh well, in the winter, even regular small planes have trouble with flying to Tahoe due to storms. Add to that the problems once you have landed - this "car" will be very light (850 pounds compared to 3000 pounds plus for a regular car), and its big surfaces will therefore make it susceptible to winds, for starters. Also, can you imagine putting chains onto this thing? And most importantly, where to put the snowboard?

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Mokelumne Wilderness August 2008

Two weekends ago, I had the chance to hike in the Mokelumne Wilderness - which is near the Kirkwood skiing resort. It's an awesome area; lakes, volcanic rocks, canyons, flowers, mountains, and overall not too crowded, especially once we got to the point where the only way to hike it realistically is backpacking. The weather was perfect - not too hot, but clear sky on both days. I was fascinated by the night sky. And, swimming in a mountain lake is the ultimate refreshment.

This time I've manually (without gps) geo-tagged the pictures, so you can either check out the album ...

Mokelumne Wilderness August 2008

... or look at the pictures on a map: