Mobile Monitoring Solutions

Close this search box.

Podcast: Dan Kreigh on Building SpaceShipOne and Designing Flying Cars

MMS Founder

Article originally posted on InfoQ. Visit InfoQ

In this podcast Shane Hastie, Lead Editor for Culture & Methods, spoke to Dan Kreigh about his experiences as the lead structural analyst working on SpaceShipOne and his personal interest in designing and building a flying car.

Key Takeaways

  • Building SpaceShipOne was an iterative and incremental project
  • There are many parallels between the development of SpaceShipOne and an agile software product
  • Dan’s definition of a flying car is one that you can drive on the freeway and to the store, then drive to an airport and take off and fly to your next destination
  • There are a number of debates about the best designs for flying cars with multiple different approaches to addressing the challenges
  • Dan’s approach is to build a flying car which will fit in a home garage using well understood technologies and incremental development

Subscribe on iTunes

RSS Feed


  • 0:26 Introductions
  • 0:48 What a structural analyst does
  • 1:32 The story of SpaceShipOne
  • 1:55 The Ansari X Prize as a motivator for building SpaceShipOne
  • 2:35 The unique design aspects for safe re-entry from space
  • 4:01 The parallels with software engineering
  • 4:12 The minimum viable complexity needed to solve the problem of getting into and out of space safely
  • 5:48 Building the space ship in small increments and learning from feedback
  • 6:35 Because the mother ship used the same designs as the space ship they were able to learn faster
  • 6:58 Describing the increments in building SpaceShipOne
  • 7:20 Contrasting the incremental approach with other space vehicle designs
  • 8:05 The challenges of building flying cars
  • 8:46 Dan’s definition of a flying car is one that you can drive on the freeway and to the store, then drive to an airport and take off and fly to your next destination
  • 9:02 Many of the vehicles being talked about are not flying cars, they are electric helicopters, which address a completely different challenge – they won’t be able to drive on the road
  • 9:50 Dan is working on a true roadable aeroplane that can fit in a home garage
  • 10:42 The problem with most flying car concepts is they don’t fit in a garage
  • 11:10 The AeroMobil flying car is priced at over $1M
  • 11:20 A flying car should not be more expensive than a home-built aeroplane
  • 11:56 One of the great debates among flying car enthusiasts – 3 or 4 wheels
  • 12:15 Dan’s design is a 3 wheeled version; the DMV considers 3 wheeled vehicles as motorcycles which will make registration easier  garage
  • 12:24 The second great debate is to have detachable wings which stay at the airport or not – if you’re clever enough you can take them with you
  • 13:08 The last great debate is whether to have one or two engines – Dan’s design has a 50HP engine for the road and an aircraft engine for flying
  • 15:08 Having two engines means that in the event of a problem with the flying engine you can still drive home, even if it is a long drive
  • 14:46 Dan feels he can have one built within the next two years
  • 16:02 Dan’s ambition to ship the flying car to Hawaii and use it to travel from island to island
  • 16:57 The incremental approach Dan is taking to the design and development of the flying car
  • 17:14 This is an intentionally simple design using well understood technologies
  • 17:58 Describing the design
  • 19:28 The great resources and support that Dan has from the people at Scaled Composites
  • 19:57 The approach is similar to using design patterns in software


About QCon

QCon is a practitioner-driven conference designed for technical team leads, architects, and project managers who influence software innovation in their teams. QCon takes place 7 times per year in London, New York, San Francisco, Sao Paolo, Beijing & Shanghai. QCon San Francisco is at its 12th Edition and will take place Nov 5-9, 2018. 140+ expert practitioner speakers, 1300+ attendees and 18 tracks will cover topics driving the evolution of software development today. Visit to get more details.

More about our podcasts

You can keep up to date with the podcasts via our RSS Feed, and they are available via SoundCloud and iTunes.  From this page you also have access to our recorded show notes.  They all have clickable links that will take you directly to that part of the audio.

Previous podcasts

Subscribe for MMS Newsletter

By signing up, you will receive updates about our latest information.

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.