Flying cars


It is a concept that we are all familiar with as popular media constantly predicts the future will hold domestic vehicles that, not only travel by road, but also by water and air. All the time there are new videos emerging of possible concept cars that can take to the skies, but how realistic is this concept, and just how soon could we see it becoming a reality?

The definition of a flying car is provides door-to-door transportation by both road and air. Many prototypes have been made to date, but nothing has reached a production status yet. This title sometimes includes hovercraft and drivable aircraft.

Perhaps one of the most hopeful conceptual designs is the TF-X by Terrafugia. This is a small compact vehicle with the ability to fly, but comes with various restrictions. The TF-X will not require an airport or an airstrip to land and take off, but will require a clear space of at least 30 m in diameter to create a vertical landing and take-off. It will have a 500 mile range and 200 mp/h cruise speed.

Terrafugia also designed the Transition, which will probably be the world's first commercially available practical flying car, although this will require a landing strip for take off and landing, and will have a range of 400 miles and a cruise speed of 100 mp/h. They are in the stages of finalising production, vehicle design and compliance testing with the view to launch the product in the next few years.

Aeromobil have claimed they will have a model available in 2017/18 based on a concept launched in 2014. This will also require an airstrip to operate, but can transform in a matter of seconds between car and plane by flicking a switch that retracts the wings.

These vehicles are comparable to small aircraft, with no pressurised cabin which will limit the altitude they are able to travel at. There could also be teething problems with regulated airspaces, and users are likely to require both a driving licence and a pilot's license to operate.

Other develops in the world of automobiles that we could see come into effect include autonomous cars. Both Tesla and Google aim to introduce fully autonomous cars - cars that can drive themselves - within several years. Driverless cars are predicted to be much safer than those with a human behind the wheel, although it will probably take a long time before people start trading in their manual cars for fully automated models.

This isn't so unbelievable when you look at some features that companies have added to cars over the years. Some cars have adaptive cruise control which controls the speed of the car based on the speed of the car driving in front, and some cars have fully automated parallel parking features which enable the car to park itself with very little human input.

Maybe these cars of the future are not so futuristic after all. It could be a matter of only a few years before we see some of these becoming commercially available, but it will probably be a long time before they are affordable to the average person.

Fraser Island

Fraser Island driving

Australia offers a number of fantastic 4x4 driving experiences in the Outback and in the Northern Territories that are likely to test any driving enthusiast, but for the ultimate 4x4 driving experience, look no further than Queensland's Fraser Island.

Just north of Noosa and the Sunshine Coast, this natural spectacle and world heritage sight stretches for over 120 km and is the largest sand island in the world. For keen drivers, it offers a multitude of different experiences, from driving on beaches to tough, technical inland roads snaking over tree roots and through large ditches.

The roads were originally built by logging companies who were farming the trees for wood on the island, and when you manoeuvre your 4x4 vehicle over them you will struggle to understand how it is possible to drive a long and heavy truck bearing such a large weight over such difficult terrain. The sand is trapped by the tree roots meaning a very bumpy ride, and there are many tight corners weaving amongst the native vegetation on very small roads. After heavy storms, which are fairly common due to the island exposure to the Pacific Ocean, there are often large potholes and puddles which provide a challenge. In drier weather, the main risk is getting stuck in large piles of soft sand.

On the East of the island is 75 mile beach, which is effectively the main highway and drives North to South allowing access to multiple inland tracks up and down the island. When the tide is low, this becomes a very large and wide beach which is very driver friendly, but beware of hazards such as large waves, washouts and dunes. The road effectively changes every single day, so every time you drive on the beach it is a new experience. Along the main beach are multiple stops for fuel and supplies, as well as accomodation for those wishing to stay the night.

With the combination of the wide open beach and the tight technical inland roads, Fraser Island really offers a plethora of different sand roads to tackle that will stretch and improve your offload skills. If that is not enough reason to visit, the nature is truly stunning, offering surreal landscapes of pristinely clear water, aboriginal culture and some rather fascinating animals including snakes, whales and the Fraser Island Dingo; one of the most purebred in Australia.

There are multiple packages which offer beginner drivers the ability to drive the roads and to discover the natural beauty of Fraser Island with a group of others led by an experienced driver. It is also possible to take your private vehicle onto the island via the ferry ports in Rainbow Beach and in Hervey Bay. There are multiple campsites and places to stay, and a good infrastructure for drivers that, with a bit of common sense, will ensure that you don't run out of fuel and have sufficient support in the unlikely event of an emergency.

While there is good infrastructure, that have been several fatal accidents on the island due to reckless driving. Ensure you are familiar with the rules and regulations before you start your trip and always be alert for dangers.

Iconic Movie Cars

Aston Martin DB5

In some of the most iconic movies of our times, sometimes the cars even out-star the lead actors. Here is a quick look back on some of the most influential vehicles we have seen hit the big screen.

1964 Aston Martin DB5 from Goldfinger

James Bond has always had an impressive collection of cars, many as memorable as the films themselves, but perhaps the most memorable is the DB5. Like many of his autos, the DB5 was kitted out with a whole plethora of different gadgets including machine guns, ejector seats, oil-slick spray, smoke screens and a ram bumper. One of the vehicles used in both Goldfinger and Thunderball was sold at an auction in 2010 for £2.6 million.

The car was originally released in 1963 as a development of the DB4. The DB series was named after the owner of Aston Martin between 1947 and 1972, Sir David Brown.

'32 Ford Coupe from American Graffiti

American Graffiti was directed by George Lucas before the blockbuster Star Wars enterprise. It is a reflection of his memories of the car culture in California in the 1960s. Painted in Canary Yellow and powered by a Chevy 327 V8, the most memorable scene featuring the “Deuce Coupe” is a drag race where it competes against a '55 Chevy and wins.

Originally, when the car was released in 1932, prices ranged between $490 for the standard coupes up to $650 for a convertible sedan. Today, it is a highly collectible car that some people pay thousands to restore to it's former glory.

DeLorean Time Machine from Back to the Future

This classic movie features a DeLorean DMC-12 car that has been converted by the character Dr. Emmett Brown into a time machine that is very much central to the narrative of the film. The operator of the time machine first selects the dates and destination before accelerating to 88 mp/h which activates the flux capacitor before the car disappears in a blue and white flash, leaving only a pair of flaming tire tracks in it's wake.

The DMC-12 was the only model ever produced by the DeLorean company, manufactured by John DeLorean for the American market between 1981 and 1983. Some of it's more unique features are the gull wing doors that open vertically, it's fibreglass body structure with a steel backbone chassis, and it's brushed stainless steel external body panels.

1968 Mustang GT 390 from Bullitt

Driven by Steve McQueen, the highland green 1968 Mustang from the movie Bullitt has become very iconic. Perhaps the most memorable scene is the chase throughout the streets of San Francisco in pursuit of a 1968 Dodge Charger and are arguably some of the best ever recorded on film. Sales of the car were so good, Ford created limited edition versions of the vehicle not once, but twice.

The 1968 was a development of the 1967 model, and improvements included better safety features such as an energy absorbing steering wheel and shoulder belts. It is one of the First-Generation Ford Mustangs which were manufactured by Ford from 1964 until 1973.

Kawasaki Green


The Japanese motorcycle company Kawasaki is amongst the most famous motorcycle producers in the world. Their first motorcycle engine was developed in 1949 and production started in 1953. Before this, Kawasaki was best known for creating aircraft. They formed a racing team in 2003, and have been involved in the World Superbike Championship since 1990 with a USA based team and have won several super bike racing championships.

Kawasaki bikes are very iconic, and names like the Kawasaki Ninja are recognised globally, but they are perhaps no more iconic than when they are presented in the lime green colour that people often refer to as just “Kawasaki Green”. This was originally initiated in 1969 during Daytona Bike Week as a way of standing out from the crowd and being a little more “in your face” to differentiate from the competition who, at the time, congenitally rode primarily in dull colours or by using red, blue or yellow shades. Nobody was using green to colour their products, and despite some protests from some of the employees at Kawasaki, the go-ahead was given to paint the bikes and to attire the team in green colours for the event. This shock move captured market headlines and grew shares in the US market.

This got people talking and grew a large amount of attention to the Kawasaki brand. The Flying K logo was also penned and debuted at the same event, effectively strengthening the Kawasaki brand in yet another aspect. Later in 1969, the first production motorcycle to be painted in the iconic green, the Kawasaki 1969 F21M “Greensreak” was created. This was a 238cc scrambler, with not too much room for green on the body. Over time, the colour has become more fluorescent and iridescent to stand out even more from Kawasaki's competitor's products, and this defining shade has been introduced the street bikes as well as the products used for racing. The colour is strong enough to effectively create a brand for the company, much like the purple used for Cadbury's products, and is instantly recognisable.

Kawasaki's racing team operates under the name “Team Green” and has been providing support to Kawasaki riders for nearly four decades. They compete in both off-road events and events on tarmac in competitions all over the world.

As well as creating motorbikes, Kawasaki produces jet skis and introduced a production of stand up models. In 1976, they began mass production of the JS400-A which came with a 400cc two stroke engine and dominated the markets right up through the 1990s. They also introduced a two person model with a lean-in sport style handle in 1986 called the Kawasaki X2, and created a seated tandem two passenger model in 1989 called the Tandem Sport. They created the name “Jet Ski” for their personal brand of watercraft, but the name ha since become commonly used to describe this type of water vehicle across the board. The Jet Skis are also usually painted in the trademark Kawasaki lime green colour.