Terrafugia Flying Car

Late next year, you’ll be able to buy your own flying car — er, “roadable aircraft” — thanks to a thumbs-up from the Federal Aviation Administration. As long as you have $194,000 and a sport pilot license.

The agency approved the Transition plane-car this week, giving it a Light Sport Aircraft rating. The test prototype has been flying for about a year, but plane-maker Terrafugia will unveil its production-class plane next month at the Experimental Aircraft Association’s annual convention in Oshkosh, Wisc.

The Transition drives like a car, uses normal high-octane gasoline, has front-wheel-drive and even comes with airbags. Its fuel economy is about 30 miles per gallon. But unlike your Prius, it can unfold its wings and fly. You’ll only need a one-third of a mile strip for a runway, meaning you could conceivably use your own street. It is powered by a rear propeller and flies about 115 miles per hour.

The ideal customer is a sport pilot who gets tired of flying to regional regional airports only to have to wait for a cab, rent a car or use public transportation. Now he or she can just fold up the wings and motor on to the next errand.

It won’t be ideal for cargo trips — it only holds about 460 pounds, including fuel and passengers — but for sport pilots on short jaunts, it’s a one-vehicle solution.

The Transition uses normal fuel, making it the greenest plane in the sky, Terrafugia says. And potentially one of the safest — if the weather turns bad, the plane can land and drive home instead.

General characteristics

  • Crew: 1 pilot
  • Capacity: 2, pilot and passenger
  • Payload: 430 lb (200 kg) ()
  • Length: 19 ft 2 in (5.8 m) ()
  • Wingspan: 27 ft 6 in (8.4 m) ()
  • Height: 6 ft 3 in (1.9 m) ()
  • Empty weight: 890 lb (400 kg) ()
  • Useful load: 430 lb (200 kg) ()
  • Max takeoff weight: 1,430 lb (650 kg) ()
  • Powerplant: 1× Rotax 912S, 100 hp (75 kW) @ 5800 rpm (max. 5 minutes), 95 hp (71 kW) @ 5500 rpm (continuous) ()
  • Propellers: Prince Aircraft Company, four-bladed “P-Tip”
  •  propeller, 1 per engine
  • Cockpit width: 51 in (1.3 m) at the shoulder
  • Fuel capacity: 20 US gal (76 L; 17 imp gal)
  • Length on road: 18 ft 9 in (5.7 m) with elevator up
  • Width on road: 80 in (2.0 m) with wings folded
  • Height on road: 6 ft 9 in (2.1 m)
  • Front wheel drive on road

Performance

  • Cruise speed: 100 kts (115 mph or 185 km/h)
  • Stall speed: 45 kts (51 mph or 82 km/h)
  • Range: In flight 400 nmi (460 mi; 740 km); on road 600 mi (520 nmi; 970 km) ()
  • Maximum speed on road: 65 mph (105 km/h)
  • Fuel economy in cruise flight: 5 US gal (19 L) per hour
  • Fuel economy on road: 30 mpg-US (7.8 L/100 km; 36 mpg-imp)
  • Certifications: Both FAA and FMVSS certifications planned

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s