Last week we showed you how Google created a self-driving car to drive a blind man to Taco Bell, presumably to get a Doritos Taco. This futuristic stunt caught a lot of media attention, but is soon to be overshadowed by another car of the future. Aerospace company Terrafugia has just completed test flights of its Transition flying car.
Transition is a street legal two-seater automobile that turns into a propeller plane that runs on regular unleaded gasoline.
The company has been developing the idea for a few years now, and last July the prototype was cleared for production by the U.S. National Highway Safety Administration. They took their first official test flight on March 23 at Pattsburgh International Airport in Plattsburgh New York. During the eight minute flight they reached an altitude of 1400 ft.
“The successful first flight of this Production Prototype Transition marks a critical move toward initial production and first delivery,” said COO Anna Mracek Dietrich. The company plans to continue tests in preparation for commercial launch of the vehicle, which is expected to be released within the next year. In all, six phases of testing are planned to insure compliance with the Light Sport Aircraft standards.
Terrafugia CEO/CTO and co-founder Carl Dietrich had this to say: "The first flight of the Transition Production Prototype is a major milestone for Terrafugia. With this flight, the team demonstrated an ability to accomplish what had been called an impossible dream. We look forward to continuing to show that the challenges of bringing a practical street legal airplane to market can be overcome. This is a very exciting time for Terrafugia. We are on our way up – literally and figuratively!"
The test pilot for the Transition had high praise for the vehicles handling. According to Chief Test Pilot Phil Meteer, “It’s a remarkable vehicle both on the road and, now, in the air."
Be prepared to spend a pretty penny on one of these aerocars. Early price tag estimates are at $230,000 with the company already taking down payments of $10,000 for the future release. The plane-car also requires a light-aircraft license to fly, which will require additional funds for training hours.
If you would like to see the Transition Production Prototype in person, go to the New York International Auto Show this weekend at Jacob Javits Convention Center in New York, April 6 - 15th.