Flying Car – Terrafugia

Terrafugia (ter-ra-FOO-gee-ah) was founded in 2006 by award-winning MIT-trained aeronautical engineers and MBA’s – who also happen to be passionate private pilots. Their General Aviation (GA), Light-Sport Aircraft (LSA) is designed to fold its wings, enabling the vehicle to also operate as a street-legal road vehicle.

Terrafugia developed the “Transition” to provide pilots the convenience of a dual-purpose vehicle. Its unique design allows the “Transition” to fold its wings and drive on any surface road with a modern personal airplane platform. Once at the airport, the wings extend and the aircraft is ready for take-off. Both folding and extending the wings is done from inside the cockpit.

The Transition light sport aircraft is expected to be released in 2011. The estimated purchase price is US$194,000. Owners will be required to obtain a Sport Pilot certificate, which can be acquired after 20 hours of observed flying time. Owners will have to drive the car from their garage to an airport where they can take-off to fly within a range of 400 nmi (740 km; 460 mi). It will carry two people plus luggage and will operate on a single tank of regular unleaded gas. The design of the production version was made public at AirVenture Oshkosh on 26 July, 2010.

The Transition Proof-of-Concept’s maiden flight on 5 March 2009 lasted 37 seconds and covered 3,000 feet (910 m) of the runway at the Plattsburgh International Airport. The test pilot then conducted 6 additional takeoffs and landings.

The Transition 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. Stowing the wings for road use and deploying them for flight at the airport is activated from inside the cockpit. This unique functionality addresses head-on the issues faced by today’s Private and Sport Pilots.

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