Terrafugia has moved one step closer to bringing the world a flying "car". The Department of Transportation has granted the company a host of exemptions needed to get the Terrafugia Transition ready for the road. The plane/car-hybrid already employs a gaggle of automotive crash technology, such as crumple zones and airbags, but it needed help moving past a few of the standard car requirements that just don't work for something with wings.

A special set of tires are fitted to the Transition, which is rated for highway speeds, but it's also designed to take the abuse that comes with multiple takeoffs and landings. Additionally, the cockpit is not wrapped with traditional laminated automotive glass. That would add weight, and also severely affect the pilot's vision in the event of a bird strike. Polycarbonate windows are the preferred porthole material.

The DOT and NHTSA exemptions are a positive step forward for Terrafugia. Unfortunately, the company has experienced a half-step backwards. A few design issues coupled with third-party supply restraints have pushed Transition production backwards. Initially, Terrafugia hoped to display a production Transition in 2011. Now, however, it seems that 2012 will be the year for our Jetson's dreams to inch closer to reality. In the interim, we'll have to be happy renaming our Roomba, Rosie.


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  • 18 Comments
      Hazdaz
      • 3 Years Ago
      People buy massive pickups to support their dirtbike, snowmobile and even motorcross habits which are all essentially single-purpose vehicles, and yet the designers of this flying car think that people wouldn't be willing to buy separate vehicles for when flying through the air versus when traveling on land? Its a nice idea, but the two forms of transport are just soooo different that no matter which way you slice it, its going to be a heavily compromised vehicle in both forms. Its like a Transformer that is both an ugly robot and a terrible-looking vehicle. Why bother?
      rjstanford
      • 3 Years Ago
      Why keep calling this a flying car? Its a street-legal airplane and should be judged as such... it will make a terrible on-road vehicle and an adequate plane, but it turns out that that's far preferable to having a respectable car that's a terrible plane once its airborne in a far less forgiving environment.
        chest rockwell
        • 3 Years Ago
        @rjstanford
        I'm interested to hear how this this actually flys, say compared to a single-engine Cessna or Piper Cub.
      jbm0866
      • 3 Years Ago
      So basically they built a vehicle that is more expensive than a comparable plane or car....but doesn't fly as good as a dedicated plane, or work very well as a road car. Sign me up for 3!
      Drakkon
      • 3 Years Ago
      I worked as an auto damage adjuster for 5 years. It seems a good portion of American drivers cannot responsibly handle two dimensions. They really don't need to be operating in three!
      Alex
      • 3 Years Ago
      So you need the driver's license, the pilot license and a permission to flight every time you trying to over...fly another traffic jam. Seems like no problems at all.
        atc98092
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Alex
        Well, depending where you are, you may or may not need a clearance to fly. If you are near a major airport (like within 30 miles or so), then yeah you may have to contact ATC, even if you will fly VFR (visually). However, outside that particular airspace as long as the weather is above certain minimums you don't need a clearance. That said, there are (US) rules about non-airport takeoff and landings. I don't think you can legally depart from or land on a public road. I also doubt you can transition from driving to flying without making some alterations to the craft, such as folding out the wings. Their web site says the wings can power out, but I'll bet youo can't do it in motion.
      Alberto Ayers
      • 3 Years Ago
      I paid $32.67 for a XBOX 360 and my mom got a 17 inch Toshiba laptop for $94.83 being delivered to our house tomorrow by FedEX. I will never again pay expensive retail prices at stores. I even sold a 46 inch HDTV to my boss for $650 and it only cost me $52.78 to get. Here is the website we using to get all this stuff, GetCent.com
      K D TopShotta Charle
      • 3 Years Ago
      its a terrorist dream... lol
      Arnold
      • 3 Years Ago
      Can we do something with helium-filled pontoon(s) like a safe dirigible instead? Heck, for that matter, I'll take a small dirigible-mounted bicycle or a personal walking dirigible that I'd use to knock off 100 lbs. of my body weight while walking. But be very careful when jumping. It would be like walking on the moon you know.
      diffrunt
      • 3 Years Ago
      Impractical
      harper
      • 3 Years Ago
      I would make it 3 wheel, like most of the airplaines, and classify it as a motorcycle. it would be much easier to certify the vehicle for the highway safety. what's the point to make the car super safe on the road, knowing that a gust of wind can cause this car to fall from the sky during the flight
      desinerd1
      • 3 Years Ago
      How much does it cost?
      Shiftright
      • 3 Years Ago
      Impressive as it may be, I'll wait until they come out with a bubble canopy model that folds itself into a suitcase at the touch of a button.
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