The long cherished dream of the flying car could be a commercial reality within the next year, according to a US company that last month completed the successful first flight of its “street-legal airplane.”
The Transition, developed by Massachusetts based Terrafugia, features foldable wings, can be parked in a single car garage and can reach airspeeds of up to 100kt, the company says. During its eight-minute first flight from Plattsburgh, New York on March 23, the Transition reached an altitude of 1400ft, according to Terrafugia.
Company CEO and co-founder Carl Dietrich said the first flight was a major milestone for the aircraft.
“With this flight, the team demonstrated an ability to accomplish what had been called an impossible dream,” Dietrich said. “We look forward to continuing to show that the challenges of bringing a practical street legal airplane to market can be overcome.”
Terrafugia said it expects to deliver its first production Transition with the next year at an estimated base price of US$279,000. The company is currently accepting refundable $10,000 deposits from interested customers.
Classified as a Light Sport Aircraft, the Transition is built around a 100hp Rotax 912ULS engine and runs off normal unleaded automotive fuel. Although it looks more than a little ungainly on the ground, it offers reasonable fuel efficiency of 15 km/l and can be driven on highways, though Terrafugia doesn’t specify its maximum ground speed. In the air, it burns 18.9 l/h, with its 87 litre fuel tank giving it a maximum range of 787km.
Other features of the two-seater include modern glass avionics and an optional full vehicle parachute.