Road, Not Sky, Presents Biggest Issues For Terrafugia Flying Car

A little over a year ago we reported on the Jetsons-esque Terrafugia Transition flying car. Back in June 2010, the vehicle had just gotten past an important FAA regulatory hurdle that allowed it to be certified in the Light Sports Aircraft category. This was a big deal, no question, but for the past year the law has actually permitted only half of the Terrafugia's function. The plane/car wasn't able to adhere to some of the standard safety requirements mandated by the Department of Transportation for road vehicles because, well, they simply didn't make sense for a car with wings. But, now the DOT has granted the company several safety equipment exemptions and Terrafugia's flying car is well on its way to becoming road ready.

For instance, the DOT has okayed the specially required set of tires designed to take the abuse of taking off and landing. It also now allows the use of polycarbonate windows instead of traditional automotive glass in the cockpit, which is employed to keep weight down and avert danger from cracked or shattered windshields.

Though the DOT clearance is great news for Terrafugia and makes the Transition theoretically ready for the mass market, the company has also experienced its share of bad news that will delay production. The company had hoped to display a production Transition this year, but design issues and third party supply restraints will likely push production back to 2012.

AOL Autos Editor-in-Chief David Kiley discusses the Terrafugia last year on Countdown With Keith Olbermann:

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