Saturday, July 3, 2010

The Terrafugia Transition flies, drives and folds into the garage

Is it a flying car … or is it a drivable airplane? Actually, the Terrafugia Transition is the world’s first “roadable aircraft” according to Terrafugia, the aviation — or automotive? — startup company developing the hybrid machine. Whether the Transition flies in the air or down the highway became a stronger possibility, the company announced Wednesday. The Terrafugia Transition was granted an exemption to be classified as a "light sport aircraft" by the Federal Aviation Administration. Because of the classification, Transition owners will find it easier to get certified by the FAA to live their dream of driving a flying car.

Resource for this article: The Terrafugia Transition – a flying car that fits in your garage by Personal Money Store

The flying car you park in your garage

The Terrafugia Transition fits in a garage and blends into traffic—as a car. "A Volkswagen in the belly of a carp" is the aesthetic assessment of the Terrafugia Transition by CNET's Johnathon E. Skillings. He reports that the Transition runs on regular unleaded gas from the corner pump on the road or in the air. It has a top speed of 65 mph on the highway and gets 30 miles to a gallon of gas. In flight it cruises at 115 mph and has a range of about 450 miles. According to Terrafugia, the plane can be transitioned from aircraft into road going vehicle in just 30 seconds.

A light sport aircraft with a twist

As a light sport aircraft, the Terrafugia Transition now belongs in the FAA's smallest private plane classification. Normally it wouldn't exceed 1,320 pounds. But Terrafugia couldn't work in the air bags, crumple zones and roll cage mandatory for cars at that weight. Jalopnik reports that Terrafugia regards the light sport aircraft classification as critical because as such, owners will only need 20 hours of flying time to be cleared for flying the Transition. With the FAA exemption, now Terrafugia is free to sell the Transition as long as buyers are informed of the extra 110 pounds.

Will Terrafugia fly with Transition?

Safety, according to Terrafugia, is one of the major advantages the Transition has over traditional light aircraft. If the weather is too severe for safe fight, The Telegraph reports, pilots can simply fold their wings and drive home. But don't expect to see the Terrafugia Transition in your rear view mirror for awhile. The Transition that performed for FAA inspectors is a one-off prototype. Sometime in 2011 is Terrafugia's target for a customer-ready production model. Even so, 70 people have enthusiastically thrown down a deposit on the $ 194,000 Transition. Each potential buyer throws down a fully-refundable $ 10,000 held by the company in escrow, just in case Terrafugia crashes before the Transition gets off the ground.


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