Terrafugia, the Massachusetts-based aerospace company, has just announced its Transition two-seater street-legal airplane has just successfully completed its first flight at Plattsburgh International Airport.
Did you enjoy catch the Back to the Future movie marathon on television this past long weekend? Flying cars might be here sooner than you think.
After its recent test flight in Plattsburgh, NY, Terrafugia’s (pronounced “terra-foo-gee-ah”) production prototype phase of the Transition ”roadable aircraft” is now complete, which has followed the proof of concept work and initial test flight back in 2009.
After more test flights and regulation and compliance checklists are met, the company can begin working on the first batch of commercial deliveries “within the next year,” says Terrafugia.
In case you haven’t heard of it, the Transition drives on the road like a car, but with a push of a button can extend its wings to fly the friendly skies. I talk about it in this video here.
Be aware, however, the Transition must take off and land at an airport, like any other aircraft — but then can be driven home and parked in your garage overnight instead of requiring a hangar.
Manufactured by Massachusetts-based Terrafugia, the NHTSA stipulations relate to polycarbonate windscreen and highway-rated tires that must be used while on the road.
The 19-foot long two-seater has a wingspan of 26 feet (when extended), top speeds of 185 kilometres per hour (and about 145 km/hour on the ground), while the 75-litre tank yields a range of about 800 kilometres.
What happens in the event of an in-air emergency? A full-vehicle parachute could be deployed. And there are airbags in case of a ground-based accident.
Terrafugia – which is Latin for “escape the earth” — says the car will sell for about US $279,000. To reserve one, the company is taking a refundable deposit of US $10,000 and has about 100 orders so far.
In the U.S., you’ll need your “sport pilot” license to fly one, which you can get with a minimum of 20 hours of flight time, says the company