The worst part of flying often has nothing to do with the flight itself — it’s arranging ground transportation to and from the airport and dealing with luggage. But what if you could simply land your airplane, fold up the wings, and drive home without having to deal with any of the typical airport hassles? Terrafugia, which was founded by aviation engineers Carl and Anna Dietrich, has been developing its signature “roadable light sport aircraft” since 2006. After some minor setbacks it passed a significant milestone last week when the flying car completed its first successful test flight – an eight-minute flight that reached 1,400 feet above the Plattsburgh International Airport in Upstate New York. Six more phases of flight testing are planned in order to comply with federal aviation standards.
The Transition isn’t the first flying car we’ve seen; since the 1930s, engineers have sought to develop a hybrid vehicle that would be just as functional in the air as it is on land, but many attempts have missed the mark. In an interview with Forbes, CEO Carl Dietrich said he hopes the Transition will make flying safer because pilots will know that they can simply land and drive to a destination when the weather turns bad.
According to Terrafugia, the Transition runs on a 23-gallon tank of unleaded fuel, and it can reach speeds of 70 miles per hour on land and 115 in air. On land it gets about 35 miles per gallon, and in the air it burns about 5 gallons per hour, spokesman Steven Moscaritolo told the Associated Press. In order to get behind the wheel of a Transition, all you have to do is pass a test and complete 20 hours of flying time.
Via Digital Trends
Photos © Terrafugia, Inc.