Tired of getting struck in traffic then better fly with Terrafugia's light sport roadable aircraft, Transition, which can be transformed from a car to a plane in just just 30 seconds. The world's first flying car of the 21st century is ready for the road.
The flying car has been cleared by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) for use on roads and granted it special exemptions as a roadable aircraft.
Terrafugia’s Transition is the first combined flying-driving vehicle to receive such special consideration from the Department of Transportation since the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards came into being in the 1970s, the Woburn, Massachusetts-based Terrafugia Inc. said in a statement.
In the exemption text, NHTSA states We further conclude that the granting of an exemption from these requirements would be in the public interest and consistent with the objectives of traffic safety.
The U.S. Department of Transportation has granted a three-year hardship exemption that will allow the manufacturer to enter its planned 2012 production time frame. Previously, the company said deliveries of the Transition are scheduled to begin in late 2011.
But, the company, after the approval, said the flying car will start shipping in 2012 and will be priced at around $250,000. Terrafugia has about 100 orders for the Transition with a $10,000 reservation fee.
Terrafugia Inc. said extensive analysis and simulated crash testing are also being employed with industry partners to ensure that the Transition meets all other applicable crash safety standards.
The NHTSA's exemptions allowed the roadable aircraft to use lightweight plastic windows and use a different type of tire than that used by other vehicles.
In order to prevent shattering of the windshield in case of a bird-hit, Terrafugia used polycarbonate materials instead of automotive safety glass. The tires are heavier like any other small aircraft to handle landings as well as road driving.
The Transition can fly at 115 mph and reach 65 mph on the road. On the ground, with its wings tucked up and in, it can fill up with auto gas at a normal filling station and it fits in any average-sized garage.
The Transition has a 26 feet wingspan and will retract and expand with only the push of a button. It has a range of nearly 500 miles. A lot of people said they never thought it would fly. But we have a vehicle right here, right now that drives and flies, and converts between the two in 20 seconds, says Terrafugia CEO Carl Dietrich.
The roadable aircraft first flew in 2009 and is the first light airplane to incorporate features found in most cars like a rigid carbon fiber occupant safety cage, and passenger and driver airbags.
This is an aeroplane first and foremost. The idea is you can drive it to and from a regulation airport. Fully fueled, you can fly it for a range of 400 to 450 miles. We have 100 orders so far. There are still some minor changes that need to be made because it has to meet both road and aviation standards, said Richard Gersh, VP Business Development of Terrafugia on February.
It has been cleared by the Federal Aviation Administration for flight as a light sport aircraft. The NHTSA clearance finally made the flying car both air and road ready.
Here is a glimpse of Transition on the road and on air:
The Transition Roadable Light Sport Aircraft Proof of Concept on the road. Terrafugia
The Transition Roadable Light Sport Aircraft Proof of Concept fits in a single car garage with the wings folded. Terrafugia
The Transition Roadable Light Sport Aircraft Proof of Concept just arrived by ground at Lawrence Municipal Airport. Terrafugia
The Transition Roadable Light Sport Aircraft Proof of Concept runs on premium unleaded auto gas. Carl Dietrich, CEO/CTO of Terrafugia, is shown with the Transition. Terrafugia
The Transition Roadable Light Sport Aircraft Proof of Concept with wings extended at home. Terrafugia
The Terrafugia Transition shortly after takeoff. Terrafugia
The Terrafugia Transition taking off of runway 17 at Plattsburgh Internaional Airport. Terrafugia