Orlando will become home to the United States' first ''flying car'' hub which will allow passengers to take an electric-powered aircraft to most of Florida's major metropolitan areas, the city and company building the ''vertiport'' announced.
''This is truly 'The Jetsons' coming to reality in Central Florida's backyard,'' Orange County Mayor Jerry L. Demings said in a release Wednesday by the Tavistock Development Co., an investment company which is building the facility as part of its 17-square-mile Lake Nona mixed-use planned community.
The Lake Nona Vertiport near the Orlando airport is to be completed by 2025 with the flying cars supplied by Lilium GmbH, a Munich, Germany-based company which Tavistock says is the only manufacturer of a five-passenger electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) vehicle.
The ''Lilium Jets'' can make the trip from Orlando to Tampa in about 30 minutes, an 84-mile journey that can take an 1.5 hours in nominal traffic but much longer in traffic along the notorious Interstate 4.
Tavistock says the aircraft can fly at speeds up to 185 mph on a one-hour charge.
The project still needs the approval of the Federal Aviation Administration and Department of Transportation.
On-demand trips via the Lilium craft will be accessed through a program or application on one's phone, like Uber or Lyft, and will cost about the same as a first-class plane ticket, said Tavistock, which expected the price to drop as the service becomes more popular.
Renderings of the 56,000-square foot vertiport resemble that of a small airport terminal, with a landing and takeoff pad instead of runways.
A major advantage of the piloted eVTOL aircraft, the release said, is significantly less noise than a conventional airplane, with no sound discernable from the ground and only that of a passing truck during takeoff and landing.
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