Guest Post by Jonathan Dudley:
Terrafugia is a company that has finally made the dream of owning a flying car a reality.
Flying cars are not a new concept. The idea has been around since the Wright brothers first achieved flight, but Terrafugia is the first company in the world to acquire clearance from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) in the United States. The convenience of being able to travel the motorways and take flight whenever necessary or desired is now a possibility with Terrafugia’s flagship vehicle the Transition.
Terrafugia has been around since 2006 and was created by engineers trained at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, one of the most celebrated educational institutes of higher learning in the US. These engineers also happen to have a passion for flight and are avid pilots. The combination of their engineering education and their passion for flight lead them to create the Terrafugia Transition. The Terrafugia Company is based near Boston in Woburn, Massachusetts and derives its name from the Latin term “Escape the Earth.” In 2008 the successful maiden flight of the test vehicle occurred resulting in the production of the Transition. Delivery of the first Transition flying cars is expected to take place towards the end of 2012.
Following the successful maiden voyage of the test vehicle, the Terrafugia team gathered all the data and used it to develop the Transition. The Transition is a two passenger vehicle capable of traveling the road or the sky. With a top speed of about 60 miles per hour (96 km/h) on the road, the Transition will not be winning any races, but you will arrive in comfort and style. The fuel economy achieved on the road is 35 MPG which makes the Transition surprisingly economical.
What the flying car may lack on the road, it more than makes up for in the air. The Transition is capable of flying up to 490 miles (787 km) on a single tank of petrol. The aircraft is capable of reaching a top speed of 115 miles per hour (185 km/h), faster than on the road.
Driving the vehicle does require a special licence. Simple driving lessons are not enough to teach a person to operate the Transition, to fly this vehicle flight school is necessary. In the UK a recreational pilot’s licence or a private pilot’s licence is necessary and in the US a sports pilot’s licence is required. The complete price for a Terrafugia Transition is far beyond most people’s price range with a base price of $279,000 (around £172,000), although a refundable $10,000 (around £6,000) deposit will reserve a Transition for a potential buyer.
The Future of Terrafugia Flying Cars
Testing and certification for the next generation of Terrafugia flying cars is already underway. Before long we can possibly expect a Terrafugia Transition Two or perhaps a completely new model of flying car. Until then we will have to be satisfied with the Transition, and for the vast majority of the population unable to afford one of these incredible flying machines, Terrafugia’s website has a nice shop consisting of all sorts of merchandise.
Jonathan Dudley is a blogger with a passion for outrageous transport from PassSmart.com.
image via Wikimedia Commons