The concept of personal flying machines seems to be as old as the aviation itself, yet cars, trucks and buses still claim the transportation throne.

However NASA researchers, as well as private aviation engineers, are working to develop the next step in personal air transportation.

The Personal Air Vehicle Exploration (PAVE) program at NASA’s Langley Research Center in Hampton Virginia, for example, is working to develop easy-to-use aircraft that may one day take you from your garage to the airport and on to your destination, saving time – and hopefully dollars – otherwise be spent on a public flight.

“That’s always been the dream,” said Andrew Hahn, PAVE vehicle sector analyst at Langley, of flying cars. “Our plan is to have a flying demonstrator by [2009].”

While Hahn and PAVE manager Mark Moore work to develop roadable air vehicles, other Langley researchers in a separate project are hoping to streamline the interfaces between personal aircraft and the thousands of small airports across the country to serve future flyers.

More here.