Unlike most light aircraft, the Terrafugia Transition® Roadable Aircraft needs automotive technology such as crumple zones and dual airbags to remain roadworthy. And like a car—or an expensive one, anyway—the Transition features a carbon fiber safety cage and takes unleaded gasoline, albeit high-octane. Hey, airplanes aren’t cheap.
The Transition could allow pilots to land early and drive to their destination if they encounter bad weather, as the car has a 500-mile range.
According to Terrafugia, it “combines the unique convenience of being able to fold its wings with the ability to drive on any surface road in a modern personal airplane platform.”
Its 27-foot wings can fold in less than a minute, and can reach 115 mph in the air and 65 mph on the roads. Drivers can convert it from a two-seater road car to a plane in less than 30 seconds with the touch of a button.
It doesn’t have a gearstick, but on the road can be controlled with brake and accelerator pedals and a steering wheel like an ordinary car. In the air it is operated with a joystick near the steering wheel.
Prospective owners will need plenty of space for their new toy—it requires 1,700 feet of road for take-off.
Its creators say the vehicle is easy to keep and run because it can fit into a normal car garage and uses regular gas.
It measures 19 feet in length and just 5 feet 6 inches in width when the wings are folded up.
And so far, how many people have sprung for this proof-of-concept?
At $250,000, the first 100 orders have all been accounted for.
Roads? Where we’re going, we don’t need roads.
It’s a car. It can fly. What else do you want?
Well, maybe a flying motorhome!
There is the issue of weight, of course, especially for snowbirds and fulltime RVers.
The Terrafugia can fly with a maximum weight of 330 pounds. That includes the passengers AND the payload. Now 330 pounds of carrying capacity isn’t a lot these days! Maybe it’s time for that diet. Less Blue Bell ice cream, possibly.
In spite of the issues, the Terrafugia might just become the granddaddy of flying cars that future generations will take for granted. In the meantime, start saving money and losing weight to make sure the Terrafugia works out for you!
The Transition is definitely a very cool idea, though, and unlike most flying cars it has actually flown.
I wish Terrafugia well—but plan to hold out for the inevitable Flying Motorhome.
The Flying Car’s Specs
Length: 19 feet
Width: 5 feet 6 inches when wings are folded; 27 feet when open
Top road speed: 65 mph
Top air speed: 115 mph
Range in air: 500 miles on one 20-gallon tank of fuel
Power: 100 hp four-stroke engine
Terrafugia (terra-FOO-gee-ah), based in Woburn, MA, is small aerospace company founded by pilot/engineers from MIT and supported by a world-class network of advisors and private investors. Terrafugia’s mission is the innovative expansion of personal mobility. “Terrafugia” is Latin for “escape from land.”
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