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Carl Dietrich

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The Icarus Reinventor

He calls his invention a Personal Air Vehicle. We call it impossible. But Carl Dietrich, developer of the first truly workable ‘flying car’, can make a believer out of anyone. He’s not the first man alive to have dreamt of cars that take off. He is, however, the first whose prototype has reached the stage of mass production, and could well be on the roads—or, if you look up, in the skies around you—five years from now.

Don’t write these off as a science fiction junkie’s pipe dreams—with a slew of patents and awards to his credit, there’s nothing spaced-out about Carl. Except, possibly, his dreams. In 2006, he founded Terrafugia along with four fellow alumni from MIT (he holds a PhD, among other degrees, from the revered institute) and today, with four patents pending on their flagship vehicle, named Transition, they’re a heartbeat away from the final frontier: getting it on the road.

To him, his invention isn’t a car that flies; rather, it’s a motorable aircraft, a descriptor designed to put panicky potential buyers at ease. You will need a pilot’s license to ‘drive’ one—something Carl has had since he was 17—and then, all that stands between you and living out a childhood fantasy is approximately USD 2,80,000. Totally worth it to escape traffic lights, we think.

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