terrafugia transition flying car conducts first public flights
all images © terrafugia
flown and driven by phil meteer, chief test pilot and flight test coordinator, the ‘terrafugia transition‘ flying car performed its first public demonstrations in front of a crowd at the 2013 EAA airventure oshkosh. several 20 minute demonstrations included flight maneuvers, converting from airplane to car and driving along the flight line. the two-seater, fixed wing street legal airplane has the capacity to achieve a maximum speed of 115mph (185 km/h) with a cruise speed of 105mph (172 km/h) for highway speeds with rear wheel drive while moving on the ground and is designed to fit in a single car garage. after a 30 second transition time, enabled by the push of a button and an automated electromechanical folding wing system, the vehicle may take off from a 1700′ stretch over obstacles at a height of 50′.
first public demonstrations: terrafugia transition flying car
video courtesy TerrafugiaInc
the ‘terrafugia transition’ flying car performed its first public demonstrations
the street legal airplane has the capacity to achieve a maximum speed of 115mph (185 km/h)
terrafugia has completed extensive analysis and crash simulation on the car in order to become mass-production ready and ensure industry partners of ‘transition’s ability to meet all road safety standards. the USA’s national highway traffic safety administration (NHTSA) exemptions of the roadable aircraft’s excess weight was due to the company’s preference in safer flight/drive materials. the vehicle is formed from polycarbonate materials, rather than automotive safety glass, in order to prevent the shattering of the windshield in an instance of the car’s pilot hitting a bird in flight. additionally, the tires of the air-road vehicle are heavier than automotive tires in order to accommodate both the stress of landings on the vehicle’s body as well as standard road driving.
the ‘transition’ features an automated electromechanical folding wing system
side view – folded wings
driving on the ground, the ‘transition’ car is 80″ (2m) tall, 90″ (2.3m) wide, and 18′ 9″ (6m) long, while when flying the airplane requires a wingspan of 26′ 6″ (8m) with its height reduced by two inches and length increased by one. the cockpit of the vehicle is 48″ wide, accommodating up to two passengers
and carry-on luggage.
the ‘transition’ is powered by regular unleaded gas from one’s local gas station, with fuel efficiency rated at 18 liters consumed per hour when cruising at speeds of 168 km/h (105mph). in flight, the car may travel 787 km (490 miles) maintaining a speed of 100 km/h (62 mph) per hour fuel consumption being 10km (6.2 miles) per litre.
UPDATE: the ‘transition’ earned an exemption sunday from the federal aviation administration as a ‘light sport aircraft,’ meaning the US federal government is on track to legalize the first flying car.
after a few more sessions of audits and paperwork, the two-seated flying car can take to the skies under the command of sport pilots, a low-threshold classification. terrafugia can also commercially produce the aircraft without repeated burdensome federal airworthiness tests.
flying car industry executives say their products should enter the consumer market in the next decade.