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Terrafugia Transition flying-car cleared by the FAA

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June 30, 2010

The Terrafugia Transition in the air

The Terrafugia Transition in the air

Image Gallery (10 images)

Is this the first viable flying car? It's a question we posed back in 2006 when we first looked at the prototype Terrafugia Transition. It now looks like the answer is yes. The flying car (or “roadable aircraft,” as the Massachusetts-based company prefers), can fly like a regular plane and land at an airport before folding up its wings and hitting the road. In car mode, it can travel at highway speeds and park in regular parking spots. Terrafugia had been hoping the Transition could be classified as a light sport aircraft, as a sport pilot’s license is considerably easier to get than a regular private pilot’s license. Unfortunately, it was proving impossible to meet all the road safety requirements, while still keeping the vehicle weight under the 1,320-pound limit for a light sport aircraft. Well, it has just been announced that the US Federal Aviation Authority will make an exception for the Transition, and allow it to squeak in at 1,430 pounds. Things are looking up for this little car ... or aircraft ... or aeromobile ... or whatever you want to call it.

The Terrafugia Transition on the road

Not only does the weight exemption allow the Transition to get the classification its makers were hoping for, it also means the aircraft will have considerably more safety features than other light planes. The extra 110 pounds will go towards items such as airbags, a crumple zone and a safety cage - all things that are required of ground vehicles under Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards.

As Terrafugia has pointed out, an additional safety feature is the option of driving back from one’s destination, if flying conditions are questionable.

The Terrafugia Transition in the air

As an aircraft, the Transition has a claimed cruising speed of 115 mph (187 km/h), a carrying capacity of 430 pounds (195 kg), and a range of 460 miles (740 km). It has an anticipated price sticker of US$194,000, and should be reaching customers at the end of next year. If you’re interested in paying the refundable $10,000 deposit to take your place in line behind 70 other prospective buyers of this revolutionary vehicle, visit Terrafugia’s website.

Via The Register

All images courtesy Terrafugia.

Are you planning on purchasing a Terrafugia Transition?
About the Author
Ben Coxworth An experienced freelance writer, videographer and television producer, Ben's interest in all forms of innovation is particularly fanatical when it comes to human-powered transportation, film-making gear, environmentally-friendly technologies and anything that's designed to go underwater. He lives in Edmonton, Alberta, where he spends a lot of time going over the handlebars of his mountain bike, hanging out in off-leash parks, and wishing the Pacific Ocean wasn't so far away.   All articles by Ben Coxworth
9 Comments

A question.........

If it's an automobubbile - then you can drive it on the road OK.

No question there.

The apparent convenience of this spawn of Satan is that it would be hard to justify landing on and taking off - from the said pubic road.

Still I am quite sure that there must be stacks of closed roads and open paddocks to justify the friendly leasing of small bits of them, near ones town.

Mr Stiffy
30th June, 2010 @ 09:59 pm PDT

I like the idea of a fold-up plane but the flying car is too flimsy as a car and too heavy as a plane. What I would prefer to see is a plane that is easier to fly than driving a car. Auto take-off, auto flight path and auto landing.

Edgar Walkowsky
1st July, 2010 @ 06:31 am PDT

Knew it was just a matter of time!

Eric Horowitz
1st July, 2010 @ 08:40 am PDT

No way!

At £130k, and a £10k refundable deposit, with no Private Pilot License required, it sounds a steal!. Unfortunately, you will need to ensure your onboarding total weight is less than 195KG including your luggage, so that will mean getting yourself weighed inclusive of all items prior to loading the FlyingCar ... sounds just like the early days of flight ... he he!

'Remember to skip that breakfast!!!'

Harpal Sahota.

Harpal Sahota
1st July, 2010 @ 11:55 am PDT

This one had some control issues during take off and landing. Not where you want to have those. Look at the deflection of the elevator. soo how much is need just to maintain sort of level flight. They were blaming that on cg and other issues.

And as previously stated it will either be a crappy car or a crappy airplane or both. Thats the nature of the beast.

Wragie
1st July, 2010 @ 01:04 pm PDT

Did it really fly or photoshopped? My bet is this s just investor scam bait.

jerryd
2nd July, 2010 @ 05:46 am PDT

Mr. Stiffy, I presume you mean 'public road'? I have occasionally driven up the type you mention.

With regard to the plane/car problem. Could you tow a small folding wing plane behind your car. That sort of gets round the certification situation. The plane could be made lighter,as a result. Taking off from the road would never be permissible, so why do you need a flying car?

windykites1
2nd July, 2010 @ 08:05 am PDT

I think the car is meant to be driven to an airport then take off, fly to another airport and land on the strip, now drive away. Also you can store it in your garage rather than incur the cost of a hanger.

Paul Anthony
6th July, 2010 @ 07:58 am PDT

Flying car is a great technological development. The safety aspects can be looked into. Mid air collisions are possible if uncontrolled licences are given and no restrain is excercised. Strict air traffic discpline will require to be enforced. Its utility in flying over desert, lakes, forests, low density populated areas and reaching out quickly to inaccessible remote areas is unquestionable. We may see so many refinements in the present design with regard to its safe flight dynamics, fuel burn, carrying capacity, weight etc. We have to see its fuel efficiency keeping in mind that its not a road driven car and may be very useful for security and emergency duties as well.

S P S Sabharwal
9th August, 2010 @ 10:23 pm PDT
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