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.


Show full PR text

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 emailpress@terrafugia.com for stock photo and video.


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  • 26 Comments
      s_t_robertson
      • 2 Years Ago
      best getaway car ever...
      Jason Allen
      • 2 Years Ago
      Bhtooefr said it earlier but I'll paraphrase: This thing has FAA and NHTSA waivers because it doesn't meet crash standards for cars and something airplaney too. :) Me: So there are no great lessons to be learned from this build. It is for folks who probably live near airports and who want to fly places without having to store the plane at an airport. Much better cars exist and cheaper planes with more ability than this exist but this has very unique characteristics that make this a handy vehicle for a lucky few.
        atc98092
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Jason Allen
        Yes, but if you've ever priced a small general aviation aircraft, you'd know that even the smallest plane nowdays is pretty high. Take a Piper Archer TX (not an equivalent plane except being at the low end). The basic Piper is $301,000, seats 4, cruise speed 128 kts, range 522nm. Burns far more expensive fuel. Of course, that price includes a nice radio package as well. But then you have to pay to store it at the airport. There's pros and cons to the Terrafugia, but in the aviation world it's price isn't all that crazy.
      tributetodrive
      • 2 Years Ago
      Thats aventadore money.
        BipDBo
        • 2 Years Ago
        @tributetodrive
        That's Cessna money.
          e46mike
          • 2 Years Ago
          @BipDBo
          Yeah, if you're fool enough to buy a new 172. You can get a good P or Q model 182 for a fraction of this.
          e46mike
          • 2 Years Ago
          @BipDBo
          Yeah, if you're fool enough to buy a new 172. You can get a good P or Q model 182 for a fraction of this.
      Randy
      • 2 Years Ago
      This company's office is near me. I drive by a few times a year to see if I can get a peek. I never see it though.
      BipDBo
      • 2 Years Ago
      I'm bewildered at how they built a road legal car that weighs so little. It's got 2 seats side by side, and all of the safety equipment and requirements of a 4 wheeled car, but it weighs 970#. 970 EFFING POUNDS! It could even drop more if it didn't have to carry wings, a propeller, or anything else required to make it fly. If this were designed to be just a car, it would probably weigh 800#! Why can nobody else seem to build something like this? An 800# car with 100hp would probably be real quick. Was Dan Frederickson right all this time? Maybe I'm wrong about the safety requirements. Maybe it flies through some sort of legal loop hole. I just need someone to make some sense of this for me.
        montoym
        • 2 Years Ago
        @BipDBo
        Note the price. It "could" be done, but you'd pay a pretty penny for it. Who would line up to buy an 800lb car with 100hp that costs $200k? Heck, even if you cut the cost in half by removing the airplane parts but keeping the lightweight construction, it would still be $140k. Completely impractical and that's why it hasn't and likely won't be done. I have a co-worker of mine trying for something similar, but for far less cost. He bought a 1950's era Fiat 600 which he plans to equip with a motorcycle powertrain. He's aiming for a weight around 800-1,000lbs. Granted, it will be almost completely stripped with virtually no modern safety devices and it's a pretty small car to begin with. He's aiming for something similar to this, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VUCLlKmLSDg
          BipDBo
          • 2 Years Ago
          @montoym
          Yeah, your right. I guess that thin aluminum and composites cost a lot. It's probably not the most comfortable ride, ethier especially when driving next to a tractor trailer. I imagine that the thin body panels may not hold up very well against the onslaught of everyday errands. The X-prise winner, the Edison2 VLC had 4 seats and weiged only 830# but it's cramped seating and total lack of amenities would make it miserable to own. With all of the extra cost and other compromises, the curb weigh doesn't make it a marketable car. That Fiat looks pretty sweet, at least until 1:10.
      k_m94
      • 2 Years Ago
      I LOVE the idea of a flying car, but $279,000? Ouch. Maybe if they ever hit mainstream production, there may eventually be something like this that costs $50k max, and not as much as a 200mph supercar.
        TopGun
        • 2 Years Ago
        @k_m94
        So what does a Ferrari 458 do zero to 5,000 feet in? It can't. :) It's expensive...even for a new airplane though...and the useful load is pretty small (relatively speaking).
        bhtooefr
        • 2 Years Ago
        @k_m94
        The problem is, what they're doing is horrendously expensive to do. And, even then, they had to get FAA exemptions (they were aiming for the Light Sport Aircraft category, which allows a much less stringent pilot's license, but with max takeoff weight restrictions, that they couldn't get down to) and NHTSA exemptions (because while they have the safety equipment, they don't meet crash test standards).
          2highpsi
          • 2 Years Ago
          @bhtooefr
          the exemptions they got are public record: https://www.federalregister.gov/articles/2011/06/29/2011-16222/terrafugia-inc-grant-of-application-for-temporary-exemption-from-certain-requirements-of-fmvss-no#p-3 looks like the only exemptions they got are for different tires, no stability control, different windshield materials, and no "advanced" airbags, although it still has airbags. otherwise it meets all the federal crash requirements....
      telm12345
      • 2 Years Ago
      Just curious, does anyone know how something this light does with a crosswind? (on road or in air) I like this thing, just curious.
      guyverfanboy
      • 2 Years Ago
      Hahaha, no more dealing with crappy traffic!
      chromal
      • 2 Years Ago
      Yeah, for that kind of cash, you could have multiple planes that flew better and multiple cars that drove better. Hybrid car+ anything universally results in inferior car + inferior other thing. Flying cars are the car of the future... any they always will be.
        Kenneth Fong
        • 2 Years Ago
        @chromal
        I challenge you to prove your words and take $300k and buy MULTIPLE small planes. $300k barely buys you ONE small entry level plane, let alone multiple. Stop talking out of your ass.
        Hazdaz
        • 2 Years Ago
        @chromal
        That is pretty much my thinking about this vehicle as well, but I wonder if its really a convenience issue more than anything else. If you had a plane, there is (apparently), not easy way to transport it, so you are kind of relegated to keeping it at an airport (which of course costs money). If you had a house that was only a few miles from the airport, you could simply drive it home. Obviously no one is going to use one of these things as a "normal" car, but by allowing it to transform, it increases its transportability rather dramatically. At least that's my take on the purpose of this vehicle. Would be nice to get some insight from a real pilot.
      H
      • 2 Years Ago
      They must be joking... People will be driving these through pothole riddled New York City then off to the airport strip...
      Chris Young
      • 2 Years Ago
      How very 1980s.
      Qlam Fam
      • 2 Years Ago
      they should have painted matte black to make it teh sexy
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