The dream of a flying car came just one step closer to reality, after the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) approved a hybrid ground vehicle that can soar at speeds of 100 km / h.
The Terrafugia transition received a Certificate of Excellence for Light-Sport Aircraft from the agency, which gave it the green light to start.
A single flight version of the boat is now available for pilots and flight schools, although it will take a year or so before the car components are ‘street legal’ – it must still meet traffic safety standards.
Finally, drivers will be able to convert from flying to driving in less than a minute, take off and land at small airports or the highway.
Terrafugia hopes to have the production and approval of a two-seater hybrid complete by 2022, but those interested in taking it for a spin will need both a driver̵
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The FAA has approved Terrafugia’s transition, a ‘flying car’ that can fly at speeds of 100 km / h and an altitude of 10,000 feet. Aircraft models are now available, with the full air-land version expected in 2022
The Chinese-owned Terrafugia has been far too optimistic about delivering a “drivable aircraft”, a small aircraft with extendable wings that can both drive on roads and take to the open air.
It first promised that the transition would be for sale in 2015, then 2018 and then 2019.
But Terrafugia general manager Kevin Colburn praised the team’s efforts during ‘an extremely challenging pandemic year’.
‘Our team remained focused, improved our quality system, completed the critical aspects of the design, built the vehicle, completed 80 days of flight testing, delivered 150 technical documents and passed the FAA audit,’ said Colburn.
The transition has a wing span of 27 meters wide, but the wings are folded for easy history in a one-car garage. Terrafugia envisions owners landing at a small airport or highway and then driving home
‘This is a great achievement that builds speed in the execution of our mission to deliver the world’s first practical aircraft.’
WHAT IS THE TERRAFUGIA TRANSITION?
The Terrafugia transition was recently granted a special airworthiness certificate from Light-Sport Aircraft from FAA.
The aircraft, which weighs about 1300 pounds, has fixed landing gear and expandable wings.
It can reach speeds of 100 km / h and an altitude of about 10,000 feet.
Owners need both a driver’s license and a sports pilot’s license.
Powered by a 100 hp Rotax 912iS Sport petrol-injected engine, the Transition has a maximum flight speed of 100 km / h and a range of around 400 miles, with an altitude of 10,000 feet.
The aircraft engine can run on either premium petrol or 100LL aircraft fuel, while the car is powered by a hybrid electric motor.
Standard features include four-wheel hydraulic disc brakes, a rigid carbon fiber safety cage and a parachute.
The vehicle weighs approximately 1,300 pounds and has fixed landing gear and a 27-foot wingspan.
The wings have been shown solely to give a sense of proportion.
Terrafugia envisages owners landing the transition at a small airport or highway and then driving it home.
It differs from the prototypes of flying cars developed by Uber, Kitty Hawk, BMW and others, which involve the vehicles that take commercial airspace.
The car converts from flying to driving in less than a minute, according to Terrafugia.
In 2018, the two-seater transition was priced at $ 400,000, NBC News reported.
Terrafugia is developing several models of flying cars, including the TF-X for four people, a four-seater hybrid electric with vertical take-off and landing.
The TF-X is planned to be semi-autonomous, with computer controls that allow passengers to enter only the destination.
It will be able to automatically avoid air traffic, bad weather and limited airspace.
Terrafugia was acquired by Chinese-owned Geely, Volvo’s parent company, in 2017.