Your Flying Car is Here

by Nancy Atkinson on July 7, 2011

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The Transition flying car by Terrafugia. Credit: Terrafugia.

Here’s your flying car. And it’s just gotten approval from the US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to hit the road. Terrafugia’s Transition® Roadable Aircraft needed a special exemption for having special plexiglas windows and landing-capable tires for a road vehicle, and this is the first combined flying-driving vehicle to receive such special consideration from the Department of Transportation. It can be yours for a downpayment of $10,000, with the current total cost of $250,000.

Terrafugia — which is Latin for “escape from land” — says this new flying car combines the unique convenience of being able to fold its wings with the ability to drive on any surface road. You can stow the wings for road use and deploy them for flight at the airport.

See a video below of how it works.

It has a maximum speed of 100 knots (115 mph, 185 km/h), and a range of787 km (490 miles). The easy change-out from airplane to car or car to airplane can be done within the cockpit, allowing pilots to drive in case of inclement weather. You can get a full vehicle parachute, just in case, and it includes many crash safety features found in regular cars.

The Transition on the road. Credit: Terrafugia

No need for renting hanger space at the airport – just park it in your garage. When using it as a car, it is 2 meters (80 inches) tall, 2.3 meters (90 inches) wide and 6 meters (18 feet nine inches) long.
When flying, the Transition is 2 meters tall (78 inches) and 6 meters (19 feet 9 inches) long, with a wingspan of 8 meters (26 feet 6 inches.)

And no need to check your bags. An on-board cargo compartment holds your carry-on luggage and includes enough room for golf clubs.

Find out more at the Terrafugia website.

About 

Nancy Atkinson is Universe Today's Senior Editor. She also works with Astronomy Cast, and is a NASA/JPL Solar System Ambassador.

Ken Meaney July 7, 2011 at 10:27 PM

My next car!

Peter Knapp July 8, 2011 at 7:38 AM

It doesn’t mention the mileage either in the air or on the ground. Those folded wings look like a wind block to me when driving. Okay, so you can drive from the airport, but is it legal to take off from any road? Probably not!

Kevin July 8, 2011 at 6:01 PM

When I bought my first ski boat the best advice I received was, “If you’re worried about the fuel economy of a toy, you shouldn’t buy it in the first place.” I think the same goes for aircraft. I can see where this would be very nice for remote vacation locations like mountain resorts, etc. There’s often a small, convenient airport in the region but where renting a car might be difficult or just a hassle.

Anonymous July 8, 2011 at 12:04 AM

Hideously ugly, but pretty awesome.

Mike Coon July 8, 2011 at 12:42 AM

I just wet myself

Anonymous July 8, 2011 at 2:09 AM

Now when I win the powerball, I know what I want.

Anonymous July 8, 2011 at 2:15 AM

Ugly car, equally ugly airplane and door dings are a structural problem that has to be fixed by an A & P. For the same money you can buy a Porsche and a Sport Cruiser, both of which out perform this abortion.

Baris Bicer July 8, 2011 at 2:40 AM

It looks like SOMEONE’S a little cranky. Lighten up, dude.

IVAN3MAN_AT_LARGE July 8, 2011 at 3:49 AM

Yeah, it’s certainly better than Chitty Chitty Bang Bang!

Anonymous July 9, 2011 at 1:41 PM

Not cranky, just the way I see it. Aircraft should be about efficiency, and so should automobiles, IMHO. On the road it has to carry around all the flight ancillaries, in flight, all the road gear. Absolutely stupid. If the only excuse is that you can save hangar fees, there are plenty of aircraft that have folding wings and can be made to trailer on their own main gear. In a world of diminishing resources, there is just no excuse for this ridiculous joke. All this is, is an exhibit in the museum of the absurd.

Antony Blackett July 8, 2011 at 4:07 AM

Is it a boat as well?

msdarkness July 8, 2011 at 4:15 AM

that’s all we need now, cars falling out of the sky. people can’t control their cars on the streets how the heck can they control them in the sky?

Torbjörn Larsson July 8, 2011 at 1:38 PM

What are the odds? This will never be affordable to replace a car.

And as most planes, you need license for a larger plane, it isn’t an ultra-light. The latter are the ones you should go after with such an argument.

Anonymous July 8, 2011 at 4:19 AM

Nice comments so far. Haha. Yep, it’s ugly but amazing. So of course from here they just get smaller & sleeker. Flying one would prob scare the crap out of me though.

ixLW8juFQ R3fpAJT3f July 8, 2011 at 5:07 AM

This flying car would be a revolutionary impact at other countries technology. You did memorable work.
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IVAN3MAN_AT_LARGE July 8, 2011 at 6:24 AM

SPAM ALERT!

Anonymous July 8, 2011 at 9:24 AM

Please don’t let senator Inhofe get one.

Stephane Labelle July 8, 2011 at 10:40 AM

It’s great if you want to escape from the police!

Luke B July 8, 2011 at 9:24 PM

Not so! Police using a Helicopter can fly faster – and land!

Torbjörn Larsson July 8, 2011 at 1:39 PM

Been there, done that, too late. I want my own suborbital now.

Martin Lefebvre July 8, 2011 at 4:37 PM

Wonder what the insurance rate for that will be. Bettcha it’s going to be killer…

Matt Campbell July 8, 2011 at 5:07 PM

Now I can use my cell phone!

Matt Campbell July 8, 2011 at 5:07 PM

Now I can use my cell phone!

Masala Efisio July 8, 2011 at 5:57 PM

Is not taken into account, the most important event that science fiction becomes reality.And then arises a question: among a thousand years for those who will be there, as it changed the world? FYI to all fans Efisio.

Anonymous July 10, 2011 at 4:30 AM

According to their website it gets 35 mpg….that is better than my Ford SUV…

Anonymous July 11, 2011 at 1:54 PM

Here’s the problem I see with this – this is a machine that has removed the useful features of both a plane and a car. With a plane, you want to be able to carry stuff really far quickly. I doubt that this plane can take as much as a water bottle in extra weight, certainly not a full suitcase – all that weight allowance is taken up with car parts. I could be wrong and if it has a really powerful engine, it may be able to handle more weight.

With a car, you want to be able to carry a lot of stuff fairly cheaply. This car has no cargo space. It would also be impossible to do a shoulder check, ’cause there’s a wing in your view!

At best this is a novelty that you can use to impress your friends, but you won’t be able to take them for a spin because it’s too small.

Anonymous July 11, 2011 at 4:22 PM

I would say this is an airplane that you can drive on the road, not an actual flying car.

I’m still waiting for my hover-board.

??? ??????? July 12, 2011 at 12:35 PM

In case of inclement weather, it will be more dangerous on the earth

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