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Boeing, which keeps making ‘defective planes,’ now wants to enter the flying car market

Published Apr 18th, 2024 9:23PM EDT
The Boeing Co. logo
Image: PATRICK T. FALLON/AFP via Getty Images

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We’ve all seen the terrifying social media videos from passengers who were on Alaska Airlines Flight 1282 earlier this year. The aftermath of a panel on that Boeing 737 Max 9 suddenly blowing off, it should go without saying, was like something out of a disaster movie. The impact reportedly ripped off one passenger’s entire shirt, as well as seat cushions and at least one tray table. Oxygen masks didn’t deploy in all seats. The city lights below were visible through that gaping hole in the side of the plane, as the passengers sat silently and presumably frozen in fear.

Never mind all that, though — nor the deadly crashes involving 737 Max 8 jets in 2018 and 2019, or the whistleblower who said during a congressional hearing on Wednesday that Boeing keeps “putting out defective airplanes.” The aerospace giant apparently thinks it’s so good at making planes, that the company now wants to try its hand at flying cars (this is not a joke, unfortunately).

Boeing CTO Todd Citron disclosed the plans to Nikkei, which reported that the company is looking to launch its flying car business in Asia by the end of this decade. The idea is to tap into demand “for the fast, short-distance travel the vehicles could provide in the region’s traffic-choked cities.”

A Boeing R&D base opened in the Japanese city of Nagoya on Thursday. Japan, by the way, is home to the startup SkyDrive, which is set to operate an air taxi service (along with Volocopter, out of Germany) at the 2025 Osaka World Expo.

This NPR timeline detailing Boeing’s troubled year so far, meanwhile, does a great job of walking through why the company’s reputation is rightfully in tatters at the moment. Flying cars? Many people don’t even want to be in their planes right now, for fear they’ll break apart in midair. It also doesn’t help that quality engineer-turned-whistleblower Sam Salespour warned during an interview this week with NBC’s Lester Holt that he wouldn’t feel safe with his own family on one of Boeing’s flagship widebody 787 Dreamliners.

The future comes at you fast, though. If Boeing gets its way, it might not be long at all before we have chunks of planes and cars falling out of the sky.

Andy Meek Trending News Editor

Andy Meek is a reporter based in Memphis who has covered media, entertainment, and culture for over 20 years. His work has appeared in outlets including The Guardian, Forbes, and The Financial Times, and he’s written for BGR since 2015. Andy's coverage includes technology and entertainment, and he has a particular interest in all things streaming.

Over the years, he’s interviewed legendary figures in entertainment and tech that range from Stan Lee to John McAfee, Peter Thiel, and Reed Hastings.