It’s Back to the Future Day – but how does the flying future measure up?

Today, October 21 2015, is the day that Marty McFly and Doc Brown traveled back to the future in 1989. At PrivateFly, it’s still one of our favourite movie franchises (combining tech innovation, time travel and flying cars, what’s not to love?)

In Back to the Future II, 2015 is full of exciting futuristic innovation that has now come true (including handheld tablet computers and video conferencing). But how did Robert Zemeckis and Steven Spielberg’s flying vision of the future weigh up with the reality?


“Roads? Where we’re going, we don’t need roads”. Well, we’re not quite there yet in 2015, but there are several exciting concepts in development. Most recently we saw some high-profile test flights on the Icon A5, a plane with foldable wings that you can park in your garage. Being talked about as the ‘plane that anyone can fly’, the A5 costs less than a Ferrari and already has more than 1500 orders, and a waiting list.

We think both Marty and Doc would have their names down for an Icon A5. (Read more: The supercar of the skies that anyone can fly)

Marty McFly's DeLorean versus the Icon A5


How do today’s prototypes measure up against Marty’s hoverboard in the movie? There are three contenders that exist at the moment. One of the most developed is by Omni who have created a propellor-based hoverboard. It’s essentially a small helicopter, where the prop blades push air downwards, that creates the upward force. It can fly over land or water. (Read more: What is the future for helicopter charter?)

Marty's hoverboard versus the latest concept from Lexus

Hendo also launched a hoverboard last year, powered by electromagnets that produce a magnetic field to create an electric current to repel the board upwards. In a nutshell, it’s a skateboard that hovers.

Lexus most recently launched their hoverboard concept, again using magnetic fields but this time using superconductors which create a levitating effect. But like the Hendo, you can’t just fly it anywhere – it is limited by needing a special surface with magnets embedded in it.

None of these quite match the speed and dexterity of Marty’s hoverboard in the movie – we might be waiting a bit longer for that.

We can’t take you back to the future, but we can take you just about anywhere else. For a quote or details on a private flight for any global route, contact us or call the PrivateFly team on +44 (0) 1747 642 777.