The boundless imagination of post-war American car design has long been on display at the AirVenture museum in the form of the 1949 Aerocar. But as of Monday, flying cars became a bit more relevant when the long-delayed, street-legal Terrafugia Transition took off and flew in public for the first time, reports the Journal Sentinel.
It was the first day of the EAA AirVenture airshow in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, an international event where the newest in aviation technology is often unveiled. The Transition took off, flew smoothly and circled around the airfield for the public audience, and the low-speed landing looked especially drama-free, with all four of the flying car's wheels touching the ground at the same time. After landing, the pilot parked for a minute to show off a crucial feature: motorized self-folding wings. The pilot/driver can fold the wings up after a flight and be ready for street driving without ever having to get out of the vehicle. The vintage Aerocar, on the other hand, had removable wings that had to be towed when it was driven on the street.
While everything seemed to go as planned for the Transition, at the 31-second mark in the first video we noticed that the wings didn't fold up at the same speed, which has us questioning the effectiveness of the prototype's wing-folding mechanism. It's a good thing that this is the second of three generations of prototypes, so Terrafugia has plenty of time to iron out the details.
Look for the Transition to go on sale in 2015 or 2016 with a projected price tag of $279,000. The company is taking $10,000 refundable deposits now, the Journal Sentinel reports, and over 100 people have already reserved their own flying car. Check the takeoff, flight and landing in the videos below.