It's hard to forget a company like Terrafugia – mostly because it won't let us. Every six months or so, the Massachusetts-based self-proclaimed aerospace company makes headlines with a flying car concept. It's first attempt, called the Transition, was a folding low-wing propeller-driven pusher aircraft with a water-cooled combustion engine. Despite its ungainliness, it has flown, but only in prototype form, and despite its long gestation period and a reported 100 reservations on the books, certification and production is moving at a snail's pace.

Yet push those negative thoughts aside and make room in your fantasy warehouse for Terrafugia's followup act, a vertical-takeoff (VTOL) plug-in hybrid-electric flying car. Promised to be much more advanced than its predecessor, the all-new TF-X would be fitted with modern state-of-the-art intelligent systems and fly-by-wire controls, says the company. Its design, with vertical take-off transitioning into horizontal flight, would provide safe, simple and convenient autonomous flight that would help alleviate today's congestion and other transportation challenges.

Rather than dwell on the implications of electric range-anxiety while cruising at 20,000 feet with your family on board, or how you will prevent your inattentive friends from walking into its low-slung whirling rotors, open your mind and watch the company's computer-generated video down below showing how a typical flight would theoretically unfold.


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  • 37 Comments
      Captain Stu
      • 1 Year Ago
      What a scam. Unless the laws of physics are re-written by the time this thing is supposed to 'launch' we would have a better chance of seeing a Moller take off.
        Michael Harley
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Captain Stu
        You forgot about the CG... way too far forward. - Mike
        Captain Stu
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Captain Stu
        Everthing wrong about this: -too fat (too much drag) -too heavy (if it contains batteries, gas, ICE, 1 person) -wings too small (they're about the size of a horizontal stab on a GA plane) -too complex (no flight management computer from before the year 2050 could handle this) -VTOL rotors too small (have you seen how big helicopter/Osprey rotors are) -gas tank/batteries too small (this would have a range of 10 miles - as a car) -if this was feasible they would have a military contract already - I think DARPA already tried this http://m.popsci.com/technology/article/2011-10/darpas-flying-humvee-moving-prototype-phase
      Space
      • 1 Year Ago
      I'm a BIG supporter of the flying car dream. I take it personally. I love the idea. The main problem I see though is propulsion. Until we have some sort of propulsion system that doesn't require moving large amounts of air around "prop wash" is going to be a huge issue and so is staying in the air. It just won't be like in the movies until we create some yet to be made propulsion system. Don't even get me started on the government mandated safety stuff for cars and the pilot license crap. We are trying to build flying cars here. Rules aren't going to help. Signed, disappointed yet optimistic dreamer
      Matt
      • 1 Year Ago
      The aerodynamics seem fundamentally sound, although the wing loading must be enormous in forward flight. It's just the transition phase (to/from forward flight and powered lift) is wrought with aerodynamics/controls/structural issues, as the V-22 Osprey has shown us.
        Drakkon
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Matt
        Doesn't stop you from drawing things in 3D CAD though.
      Austin Too
      • 1 Year Ago
      Perhaps this company is trying to mimic the overwhelming success of Moller with his VTOL \"Skycar.\" I can\'t believe they still have a web site up and running after so many years of wasted effort and after their prototype went to eBay. http://moller.com/dev/ I was once at a conference with both Moller and Burt Rutan in attendance. Rutan ripped Moller a new one.
      Hoebster
      • 1 Year Ago
      Look get a light aircraft and a pilots license, it isn't technology that will stop flying cars ever working as a serious proposition. Just think for a second what it would mean having a mode of transport with the freedoms of a car invading the airspace? Oh wait yeah. It wouldn't happen. Governments would never okay such a thing. So can we put the childish notions of flying cars to bed please.
        Sir Duke
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Hoebster
        You know it is human nature to take a good thing and exploit it for evil. All we need is road rage in the skies. Think of the law enforcement headaches. Think of the internet, the US Constitution, personal video cameras etc., all victims of the darker side of human nature.
          Oracle
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Sir Duke
          What now? Seriously what are you on about? Who is exploiting what? The Jetsons view of sky city just ain't gonna happen. It's a very poorly conceived fantasy. Now can we just get onto some serious future transport and fuel options like hydrogen fuel cell tech? Sir Duke you're just a little bit off your tiny little nut aren't you? Keep taking the meds.
          Sir Duke
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Sir Duke
          Oracle: My view, while cynical, is not off base. Flying cars would just be a new tool for bank robbers, try setting up a roadblock in the skies. About the meds, aside from burning the occasional fatty, no drugs here.
          chest rockwell
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Sir Duke
          Bank robbers using a flying car? What are you talking about?!?!?! When was the last time you heard of bank robbers using a helicopter? Ridiculous. Keep watching your action movies...
          GasMan
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Sir Duke
          Oh that's why we don't have flying cars - because of the bank robbers!
      • 1 Year Ago
      [blocked]
      car czar
      • 1 Year Ago
      What about rotor wash. There is way to much reliance software and mechanical hardware. This VTOL will need to simplified before this can ever become mainstream. IMO cool design keep engineering
      sp33dklz
      • 1 Year Ago
      The last thing we need is flying automobiles. I don\'t need some drunk, some grandma, or some texting teen crashing into the roof of my house.
      Moosetang
      • 1 Year Ago
      "Yeah, Mom? Hey, I need a plane ticket. I drove the car to Africa and I KINDA got in an accident. No, it was just me and some friends. No, don't put dad on the phone."
      chest rockwell
      • 1 Year Ago
      There are so many problems with this design, and especially story picture, that I don\'t even know where to begin.
        Edsel
        • 1 Year Ago
        @chest rockwell
        Agreed. Everyone can VTOL at least once without buying into Terrafugia's rendered contraption. Climb the highest building/tree you can find, then jump. Geometrically, your takeoff will be vertical and so will the landing.
      OnTheRocks
      • 1 Year Ago
      Aren't things that fly, like uh...really loud? Would this be the worst thing to happen in regards to noise pollution since the invention of the airplane?
        ufgrat
        • 1 Year Ago
        @OnTheRocks
        Don't forget, since it's an electric car, it'll have to go "beep beep" as well. ;)
      Cruising
      • 1 Year Ago
      Any plane can be driven on a roadway if they are small enough. What the hell do you think airports are? Giant roadways. Heck any contraption on wheels can be driven on the road legally if the authorities allow it, does not make it related to a car. Stop calling it a flying car, it's plane and will always be a plane.
        Cheetahjab
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Cruising
        Oh quit your crying and just enjoy the bit of technology that can still inspire flights of fancy .
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