It may have been a few months behind schedule but the Terrafugia Transition® has officially taken to the skies and, perhaps more importantly, safely landed. In the competent hands of retired U.S. Air Force Colonel Phil Meteer, the roadable airplane (A.K.A aero-auto hybrid A.K.A. flying car) made its inaugural flight (and six more more afterwards) at the Plattsburgh International Airport this past March 5th. At 37 seconds and a distance of 3,000 feet, it's fair to say this maiden voyage was a bit short but that was the way the script was written. According to Colonel Meteer, "It was remarkable for being unremarkable, it just flew like a really nice airplane."
The company has already received 40 orders for the craft that is expected to sell for $194,000. Before you plunk down the refundable 10 grand to reserve your airframe, keep in mind you may have to wait a while before you can start getting 23 mpg at 100 mph. Terrafugia expects to deliver their first flying car sometime in 2010. Hit the jump for videos of the flight and the pilot's impressions as well as the full press release.
[Source: ITWire / Terrafugia]
Historic Takeoff Makes "Flying Car" a Reality
The Transition® Roadable Aircraft Completes Successful First Flight
Boston, MA – March 18, 2009: Terrafugia, Inc., a game-changing aircraft company, announced today the first flight of its Transition® Roadable Aircraft Proof of Concept. Often referred to as a "flying car", the Transition® is a two-seat aircraft designed to take off and land at local airports and drive on any road. Transforming from plane to car takes the pilot less than 30 seconds.
An historic milestone for aviation, the flight comes after six months of static, road and taxi testing. The Transition® cruises up to 450 mi at over 115 mph, can drive at highway speeds on the road, and fits in a standard household garage. The vehicle has front wheel drive on the road and a propeller for flight. Both modes are powered by unleaded gasoline from a regular gas station.
"This breakthrough changes the world of personal mobility. Travel now becomes a hassle-free integrated land-air experience. It's what aviation enthusiasts have been striving for since 1918," says Carl Dietrich, CEO of Terrafugia.
By giving pilots a convenient ground transportation option, the Transition® reduces the cost, hassle, and weather sensitivity of personal aviation. It also increases safety by incorporating automotive crash structures and allowing pilots to drive under bad weather.
For its first flight, the Transition® was flown by Phil Meteer, Colonel, USAFR (Retired) at Plattsburgh International Airport in Plattsburgh, NY. The chase aircraft was piloted by Giora Guth.
Categorized as a Light Sport Aircraft, the Transition® requires a Sport Pilot license to fly. The Proof of Concept will undergo additional advanced flight and drive testing and a pre-production prototype will be built and certified before first delivery. Refundable airframe reservations are being accepted.
Terrafugia (terra-FOO-gee-ah), based in Woburn, MA, is comprised of a team of award-winning engineers who have been advancing the state of personal aircraft since 2006. Founded by five pilots who are graduates of 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."
The Transition® will temporarily be on exhibit at the Museum of Science, Boston on March 18, 2009.
Terrafugia would like to acknowledge and thank its corporate sponsors: SolidWorks Corporation and CableOrganizer.com. Additionally, the following business partners have contributed to a successful first flight by furnishing equipment and services: Garmin International, Dynon Avionics, CO Guardian, David Clark Company, Bose Corporation, Icom Inc. and Air Graphics LLC.