They flew in their prototype at last year's AirVenture. The video looks good. What you're going to get is a roadster/plane with foldable wings. I'm saying roadster, because it's going to have two seats - not because it's going to drive like a sports car. This will make it qualify as a Light Sports Aircraft, which means that pilots won't need a medical (important for many). Licensing is a little simpler, too, although everyone I know goes for their full PPL.
As an airplane, it's not particularly fast (93kts cruise - slower than your typical Cessna 172 Skyhawk), and it maxes out at 460lbs payload (full fuel, I guess), if the specs I have are correct. It drinks 100LL or premium motor gas (which is cheaper), and goes some 400+nm, though I'm not sure if that is with reserves (you need 30min day VFR, 45 at night, and typically you want more).
The person working on this at Terrafugia advertised it as a plane that's great for a business trip, because it will get you home most of the time: if the weather is bad, you just land and drive around the weather. That's a neat concept.
The price? At Oshkosh, they were saying around $270k. I asked about insurance, and it sounds like there will be separate insurance policies for road/air use, and it seems that the road policy more expensive than a car insurance (they said 3% of hull value), because of the added utility (more miles driven/flown). I'm not sure if I follow that reasoning.
For comparison, you can buy a used Bonanza for much much less, and you'll get a lot more airplane for your money. You will also get a new Cirrus SR20 around that price point (but that's a plane, and as such not as practical). In the long run, as prices come down, I get see how this is going to be practical for a lot of people that need to travel for work (or can afford to go places for fun).
As far as I know, the FAR's basically say that it is up to the operator (the airline) to decide which devices are OK to use [1491.21, and, for typical airline operations: 121.306].
Yes, I spent my late 20's and early 30's doing a PhD and a longish poorly-paid post-doc at one of the top US institutions. But I enjoyed it. I did not have to do my professor's work. I develop a research agenda instead.
I'm tenure-track faculty at a very large, research-intensive state school now. My salary is where I'd start out at Google as an engineer with a PhD, because the university has recognized the need to compete with the private sector. I chose not to take the Google job at the time because I wanted to run my own lab, but the decision was close. I now have a few PhD students, some very limited grant money coming in. I do have to teach: some of it is fun, and I'm trying to give something back to my "customers" without spending valuable time on it (which I need to spend on research).
I do see some people that work crazy hours. They tend to either be very good at what they do, or they go for every grant opportunity they see (and still have a poor success rate). With the low chances of getting a proposal funded at certain important institutions (like NSF, NIH), I feel I need to economize and only send in core work.
Yes, a lot of teaching is offloaded on teaching faculty with year-to-year jobs. Science is not in their career goals, but they are much more dedicated educators. Given the poor preparation and an attitude among our undergrads to "pick up a degree" in lieu of "learning something profound", I think this is the right choice. We do not work with adjuncts all that much, but it's widely agreed that working as an adjunct for more than a year is labor of love, not a career.
I'm happy with my job for it offers plenty of intellectual and practical freedom. The downside is having to live in a college town rather than in NYC or SFO, or in a much more interesting European city. I'll live with this trade-off.