Terrafugia Transition

Ask alot of adults past middle age what they thought the current millenium would be like and I’m sure some of them would have expected flying cars. That’s not happened yet, we haven’t even gotten past the internal combustion engine properly yet, and car manufacturers are divided between hydrogen and electric.

There has to be a first, and this might be it – the Terrafugia Transition. They don’t call it a flying car though, instead its official definition is a “roadable light sport aircraft”, which means its first and foremost an aircraft.

According to Terrafugia flying it is alot like a regular plane and someone only needs 20 hours of flight time in a Transition-specific course if he starts from scratch. For existing pilots its even easier – just a familiarization training that’s included with the purchase.

Terrafugia Transition

The Terrafugia transition can cruise at 100 knots or over 180km/h. It burns 5 gallons per hour from a 20 gallon fuel tank. On the road, it achieves 30mpg at highway speeds. No top speed has been mentioned so I suspect this is actually quite low although the minimum of highway accepted speeds should be achievable, likely due to conflict of aerodynamics design.

While its wings can be folded and you can park it at your house and even in your garage, You can’t just take off immediately as it isn’t a VTOL aircraft. VTOL means vertical take-off and landing, those that have played Command & Conquer before would be familiar with this – remember the Orca?

Instead, you’ll have to “drive” the Transition to your nearest runway and take off there like a normal plane. It’s front wheel drive, by the way. The cost has not been finalised yet but a rough estimate has been pegged at US$ 194,000!

It recently performed its maiden flight which lasted only 37 seconds before it landed again. “The first flight is great, but first landing is what matters,” said Terrafugia co-founder Anna Mracek Dietrich.

Look after the jump for a few photos of the car/plane.

VIDEO: First Flight of the Terrafugia Transition – Camera A

A video of the first flight of the Terrafugia Transition. First flight occurred on March 5th, 2009 at Plattsburgh International Airport in Plattsburgh, NY.

VIDEO: First Flight of the Terrafugia Transition – Camera B

A video of the first flight of the Terrafugia Transition. First flight occurred on March 5th, 2009 at Plattsburgh International Airport in Plattsburgh, NY.

VIDEO: Interview with Test Pilot Col. Phil Meteer, (Ret).

Col. Meteer discusses his experience as the test pilot shortly after the first flight of the Terrafugia Transition.

VIDEO: Terrafugia Transition(R) At Home

Park the Transition(R) Roadable Aircraft in your household garage. Deploy the wings entirely from the cockpit.

VIDEO: Terrafugia Transition(R) Turntable

Terrafugia’s Transition(R) Roadable Aircraft is a Light Sport Aircraft designed by pilots for pilots. With first delivery scheduled in 2011, the Transition(R) gives pilots a new level of flexibility in flight.