terrafugia flying airplane car enters production all images courtesy of terrafugia






at the new york international auto show 2012,  USA-based transportation research and production organization terrafugia will publicly debut its production-ready flying two-seater car, ‘transition’. this ‘transition roadable aircraft’ is considered to be the most viable vehicle in the field of road/air travel given its ability to both drive smoothly on maintained roads and embark on air travel; proper airport landing strip contingent. after several years in conception and development the ‘flying car’ will now be produced for several of the 100 reserved through pre-order clients with the first of these vehicles scheduled for delivery in late 2012.

terrafugia flying airplane car enters production the transition roadable aircraft is considered to be a ‘light sport aircraft’ by the USA’s national highway traffic safety administration image courtesy terrafugia / balasubramanyam seshan




the ‘transition’ 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. 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′. powered by regular unleaded gas from one’s local gas station, the fuel efficiency of ‘transition’ is 5 gallons per hour at a cruise speed of 105mph from a tank with a capacity of 23 gallons with the total mileage on the road being 35 miles per gallon. in flight, the car may travel 490 miles (787 km) maintaining a speed of 62 miles per hour fuel consumption being 6.2 miles per litre. 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. making the light sport aircraft more road-ready still, the airplane-car has automotive-style entry and exit.

terrafugia flying airplane car enters production




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.

terrafugia flying airplane car enters production

‘every pilot faces uncertain weather, rising costs, and ground transportation hassles on each end of the flight. the transition combines the unique convenience of being able to fold its wings with the ability to drive on any surface road in a modern personal airplane platform. stowing the wings for road use and deploying them for flight at the airport is activated from inside the cockpit. this unique functionality addresses head-on the issues faced by today’s private and sport pilots.‘ -terrafugia

terrafugia flying airplane car enters production ‘transition’ and a chase plane during may 2009 testing

terrafugia flying airplane car enters production the collapsible wings enable the vehicle to easily travel on surface roads

terrafugia flying airplane car enters production a digital rendering depicting the interior of the car-plane

the ‘transition’ is expected at a price point of 279,000 USD.

terrafugia flying airplane car enters production on the ground, with its wings tucked up and in, it can fit in an average-sized garage image courtesy terrafugia / balasubramanyam seshan

‘a cockpit view of suburban driving’ by terrafugia inc

‘next generation transition ® unveiled’ by terrafugia




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.


see designboom’s previous coverage of the futuristic automobile’s first flight here, reconfiguration here, and further analysis here.