February 21: The Arrowbile, the first flying car, took off on this date in 1937
Waterman "Arrowbile" flying carIt was less than a decade after the Wright Brothers took flight that inventors began thinking of ways to combine airplanes and automobiles. One of them was Waldo Waterman, a designer who specialized in the early push to develop a "flivver" aircraft — an affordable plane that could become the Model T of the air. Based on those designs, he then built what he called the Arrowbile, a plane with detachable wings which could then propel itself along a road. The engine powered the rear wheels through a special transmission, and Waterman used several Ford and Studebaker parts in an attempt to keep costs low. On this date in 1937, the Arrowbile took flight, and flew well enough for Studebaker to buy the company for promotional purposes. Unfortunately for Waterman, the high cost and bulkiness of the Arrowbile ensured it never made it to full production; only six were built, including the one above at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum — and we're still waiting for a practical flying car.