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The Transition by Terrafugia – Flying Car Will be Available on the Market Next Year

According to The Daily Telegraph, the FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) has just awarded the Terrafugia Transition an exemption which will allow the 1,440-pound car/aircraft hybrid to fly under a ‘light sport’ designation, even though it hits the scales at a hefty 120 lbs. more than the rules allow. A light sport pilot license only requires 20 hours of seat time – far less than what a full license would demand.

The Transition - Flying Car by Terrafugia
The Transition - Flying Car by Terrafugia

The Transition was designed as a ‘light sport’ aircraft, the smallest kind of private aeroplane under FAA classification, with a maximum weight of 1,320lb. But the manufacturers found it impossible to fit the safety features – airbags, crumple zones and roll cage, for instance – that are required for road vehicles into that weight. The two-seater Transition can use its front-wheel drive on roads at ordinary highway speeds, with wings folded, at a respectable 65 mph. Once it has arrived at a suitable take-off spot, an airport, or adequately sized piece of flat private land, it can fold down the wings, engage its rear-facing propellor, and take off. The folding wings are electrically powered.

The Transition needs just 1/3 of a mile to take off over an obstacle of 50″ in height and can cruise at around 115mphs, and it can carry 450lb. It’ll also fly for a distance of about 460 mile before needing a refuel. The Transition only uses an average fuel consumption of 30 mpg on the road too, and with its wings folded, can comfortably fit in any garage. Not bad for a car that absolutely flies.

There are still a few stages to go on this journey, including crash testing and the release of a production prototype this summer. The company says that 70 people have ordered the car, leaving a $10,000 deposit each. The car is expected to retail at $194,000. Deposits are held in escrow, meaning that should the company go bankrupt before delivery, the money will be refunded. Terrafugia expects to make the first customer delivery of a Transition in 2011.

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