I realize the headline above makes a big assumption, and probably an invalid one. It assumes that people actually did see humor in my April Fools’ Day prank from a few weeks ago.
This year’s prank, which I wrote about earlier, involved using the web site Nextdoor.com to ask my neighbors if anyone knew a good helipad contractor. Here’s what I posted to Nextdoor:
I have the opportunity to teach a class at NYU in the Fall, but unfortunately it meets the same two days I teach my classes at Villanova. However, NYU has told me that it would be willing to send a helicopter to pick me up each day so that I could make it to NYU in time, and to make it even easier, would even split the cost of putting a helipad in my backyard.
I was hoping that some outraged neighbors would start complaining about my decision to build a helipad in our neighborhood, where the houses are very close together. While one reader complained “no wonder college costs are so high”, and another reader actually gave me the name of a contractor, a few people did tell me that they enjoyed my attempt at humor.
Well now as it turns out, perhaps having your own personal helipad may not be such a crazy idea after all.
Uber announced today that it intends to test flying cars within three years near Dallas and Dubai.
However, as the web site Verge pointed out, perhaps calling these vehicles “flying cars” is not quite accurate and a bit misleading, but it certainly captures the imagination. After all, who doesn’t remember how awesome the Jetsons were with their flying car?
What Uber is actually planning is for a network of on-demand, electrically powered, multi-rotor vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) vehicles. (Now you can see why people simply refer to these kind of vehicles as flying cars).
Here’s a picture which shows the concept, at least at this stage:
Uber has stated that the first of these aircraft could be ready within five years with its initial network in place by 2026. The “flying cars” could travel up to 150 miles an hour and shuttle several passengers and take off and land on repurposed parking garages and existing helipads.
So there you go; perhaps having a helipad in your own backyard may not be such a far-fetched idea after all. I was just a few years ahead of my time.
Which means I probably won’t be able to recycle this year’s April Fools’ Day joke 10 years from now; if I did, I might actually get bombarded by a bunch of helipad contractors, and the joke would be on me…
P.S. When I think of jokes that may not stand the test of time, the one that always come to mind is from “Take the Money and Run”. In one scene, Woody is interviewing for a job, and is asked if he has any experience running a high-speed digital electronic computer. His response, back when the movie was made in 1969, was hilarious. Now, maybe not so much.