18 Aug
Flying Cars in our future...for real!


Planes are becoming ever more affordable and accessible, thanks in part to the government’s new Sport Pilot listing which allows for only 20 hours of flight training before you’re licensed. Yes, the idea of someone being able to fly a giant can of metal above my head with less training than a chiropractor scares me, but it has been a great boon for the Gift of Flight. We’ve highlighted some of these planes, the most promising being the Icon A5 which boasts 2 great breakthroughs: A) it folds its wings, allowing you to store it in a 2 car garage and tow it like a boat; and B) it can take off from water, allowing you to circumvent an airstrip. The latter is a huge plus, because part of the limitation of the Sports Pilot classification is that you cannot fly anywhere with an Air Tower — there’s too many regulations to learn in that short time.

What’s another way to circumvent an Air Tower? Why, skip the damn lake entirely and take off from that straightaway on the way to work! Does this smell like trouble? Of course it does! Imagine people taking off and landing on public roads whilly nilly — the comedic (and tragic) possibilities are almost endless. But honestly, after being stuck in Hour Two of your 4-hour commute home, how many times have you fantasized about just tearing into the breakdown lane and flying off into the great blue yonder? Well, now the Terrafugia Transition can make it happen. Started by some MIT graduates (is there anything those guys don’t have their greasy mitts on?) in 2006, the Transition just completed its first test flight, and they hope to have it on the market as early as next year. It can also fold its wings for front-wheel road driving, and can allegedly fly at 115 mph with a range of 460 miles. The cost of soaring above your boss while you flip him off in his BMW 7-Series? A modest $194K. Not bad.


2 Responses to “Terrafugia Transition Flying Car”

  1. Mark Finkelstein says:

    “the limitation of the Sports Pilot classification is that you cannot fly anywhere with an Air Tower — there’s too many regulations to learn in that short time.”

    Incorrect. Sport pilots can fly into any airspace, including the most crowded tower-controlled ones, B & C. I am working toward my sport pilot license at an tower-controlled airport in Class D space and just soloed there earlier this week.

    Also, it’s wrong to suggest that Terrafugia is marketing its vehicle as something that could be used to take off from roads: the Terrafugia folks make very clear that takeoffs and landings must be at airstrips.

    The Terrafugia is being marketed as having the following advantages: 1. once you get to your destination airport, you can drive to your final location, 2. if you encounter bad weather at any point during a trip, you can land at the nearest airport and continue on the ground until conditions improve. Many serious crashed occur when pilots without instrument ratings try to push on when encountering bad weather en route; and 3. you can drive your vehicle home and garage it there rather than paying for hangar space.

  2. […] that Terrafugia Flying Car we talked about last summer? They promised it was more than wistful ambitions and barely […]

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