Visitors to the New York Auto Show will be able to take a closer look at the Terrafugia Transition 'Flying Car,' just days after the company's prototype made its first flight. The two-place airworthy machine is perhaps best considered a roadgoing low-wing aircraft (not a 'flying car'), as its technical specifications are anything but earthly.
For starters, the curb weight of the composite and aluminum Transition is just 970 pounds, with a maximum takeoff weight of 1,430 pounds (useful load is 460 pounds). It is powered by a 1.4-liter Rotax 912ULS, a water-cooled flat-four developing 100 horsepower.
In aircraft mode, the thick automated electromechanical folding wings open and a gearbox transfers power to a four-bladed pusher propeller just behind the cockpit. Top speed in the non-pressurized Transition is about 115 mph, with a flying range of just over 400 miles. In terrestrial mode, with the wings folded and a license plate hanging in the slipstream, power is sent to the rear wheels and the top speed falls to just 65 mph. Fuel economy is about 35 mpg, with an on-road range in excess of 600 miles.
According to Woburn, Massachusetts-based Terrafugia, the company has more than 100 reservations for this novel contraption. If you have Popular Science dreams, get out your thickest checkbook, as the current anticipated base purchase price is a lofty $279,000.
Related GalleryTerrafugia Transition Flying Car: New York 2012
Major Milestone takes "Flying Car" Closer to First Delivery
Second Generation Transition® Street-Legal Airplane Takes Flight
New York, NY & Woburn, MA – (April 2, 2012): The Transition® Street-Legal Airplane is now a significant step closer to being a commercial reality. The production prototype of the Transition® Street-Legal Airplane completed its successful first flight at Plattsburgh International Airport in Plattsburgh, NY on March 23, 2012. The same vehicle has also successfully conducted initial drive and conversion testing, demonstrating the Transition's capability to provide unmatched freedom, flexibility and fun in personal aviation. Developed by Terrafugia, Inc., the Transition® is a two seat personal aircraft capable of driving on roads and highways, parking in a single car garage, and flying with unleaded automotive fuel.
"The successful first flight of this Production Prototype Transition® marks a critical move toward initial production and first delivery," said COO Anna Mracek Dietrich. The Production Prototype phase of the Transition® program follows Proof of Concept work which included a flying, driving Proof of Concept vehicle and was completed in 2009. The Production Prototype program includes two vehicles and is being used to develop and inform the manufacturing tool-up and compliance program necessary to begin commercial deliveries. Terrafugia will continue its testing program in preparation for first delivery, which is expected to occur within the next year.
Regarding this first flight, Terrafugia CEO/CTO and co-founder Carl Dietrich said: "The first flight of the Transition® Production Prototype is a major milestone for Terrafugia. With this flight, the team demonstrated an ability to accomplish what had been called an impossible dream. We look forward to continuing to show that the challenges of bringing a practical street legal airplane to market can be overcome. This is a very exciting time for Terrafugia. We are on our way up – literally and figuratively!"
The Transition's first flight reached an altitude of 1400' above the ground and lasted eight minutes while staying in the vicinity of Plattsburgh International Airport. It demonstrated the controllability and safe operational characteristics of the aircraft. Six phases of flight testing are planned to continue development and demonstrate compliance to the Light Sport Aircraft standards.
Speaking about the first flight, Terrafugia Chief Test Pilot Phil Meteer said: "It's a remarkable vehicle both on the road and, now, in the air. When I drove it into the shop, literally from the road through the garage door, I was amazed that I had just flown it at Plattsburgh a few days before. A long-overdue mode of transportation and fun is just around the corner. I can't wait for the upcoming flight tests and the chance to 'wring it out', demonstrating how safe and enjoyable the Transition® is to fly."
The Transition® Production Prototype is on display at the New York International Auto Show April 6-15th at the Jacob Javits Convention Center in New York City. Terrafugia would like to thank Giora Guth, Chief Chase Pilot, as well as the teams at Plattsburgh International Airport, Sheltair Aviation, and Lawrence Municipal Airport, for their support of our ground and flight testing operations.
Terrafugia (terra-FOO-gee-ah), based in Woburn, MA, is a growing aerospace company founded by pilots and engineers from MIT and supported by a world-class network of advisors and private investors. The company name is Latin for "escape the earth." Terrafugia's mission is to design and deliver revolutionary, practical air and land vehicles that provide freedom, flexibility and fun to their loyal customers.
The Transition® is classified as a Light Sport Aircraft (LSA).
Specifications can be found online athttp://www.terrafugia.com/aircraft.html. Please firstname.lastname@example.org for stock photo and video.