The Terrafugia Flying Car Already Has Pre-Orders

The Terrafugia Flying Car Already Has Pre-Orders

Terrafugia may not be the first name brand that comes to mind when you think of automobile manufacturing, but over the next couple months they may be the only one you care about. Terrafugia Inc. is close to perfecting their prototype flying car, and has recently announced they expect to have the vehicle available for purchase by the end of the year. The company is based out of Woburn, Massachusetts, and will be pricing their flying car at approximately $279,000. Almost 100 people have already handed over the $10,000 deposit to be the first private owners of a flying car. Terrafugia expects even more presales after the vehicle is formally introduced at the New York Auto Show later this week.

They call their flying car the Transition, and it’s been built to be fully functional both in the air and on the road. It’s a two-seater, with wings that fold up for ground driving. Terrafugia is confident of the Transition’s impending availability due to a successful flight test last month. They flew the vehicle at 1,400 feet for eight full minutes.

The idea of a flying car has long held the public imagination. Inventors have attempted to solve the puzzle regularly over the past eighty years, with limited success. But all signs are pointing to the Transition turning the page on that long history of failures. The government has greenlit Terrafugia’s request to use specially designed glass and tires in the Transition, for ease of flight. And the Transition has temporarily been exempted from the standard automobile requirement of included electronic stability control, hardware that would add six pounds of operating weight to the vehicle. These announcements make it clear that Terrafugia expects the vehicle to operate in the air as frequently as on the ground. Drivers should not fear their road safety however. The government is still requiring the Transition pass a wide range of automotive crash tests, to ensure it will meet or exceed federal safety standards.

Terrafugia has been hard at work trying to develop a flying car for the past six years, and has not always shown confidence in their results. They originally wanted the Transition on the market in 2011, but had to delay due to issues with parts suppliers and challenges with the design. But the company’s design efforts were certainly aided by recent changes to Federal Aviation Administration regulations. Five years ago, the FAA created a separate set of requirements and standards for light sports aircraft, a rating the Transition will carry. The standards of an aircraft’s size and speed, as well as the various license requirements for pilots, are easier to meet in the light sports aircraft. If a licensed automobile driver would like to fly the Transition, he would only have to pass a written test and successfully complete twenty hours of flying time. That’s an incredibly low standard for pilots.

Given the minimal testing for pilots and the Transition’s upcoming launch in New York, concerned citizens may want to hop on the nearest bus rental NJ and skip town. But Terrafugia feels their announcement will unveil to the world a viable flying car and a company on the rise. It remains to be seen how large the market for these specialized vehicles will be, but the little kid in all of us certainly rejoices at the concept of a flying car soon hitting the sales floor.

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