The dream of flying cars took one step closer to reality this week when the Terrafugia Transition, a car that can turn into a plane, made its first public flight in front of crowds at a US air show.
There have been flying cars before, most notably the Aerocar of 1949. However, its wings had to be removed and towed behind it when driven on the road, whereas the US-built and designed Transition has powered folding wings that tuck in neatly against the sides.
According to a Terrafugia spokesman, this means the Transition can be quickly converted to a car and travel on roads, as well as fit inside a one-car garage. That’s an American-sized, one-car garage.
As a car, the Transition can do 65mph and return 35mpg. As a plane, it can fly at 100mph and has a range of 410 miles. There’s no need to fill it with expensive aviation fuel; the Transition runs on normal unleaded petrol.
The makers say it’s a very useable and adaptable vehicle that would make commuting to work a breeze. Meanwhile, pilots who are grounded by bad weather, could simply drive to a clearer area.
During the EAA AirVenture air show at Oshkosh, the Transition flew low above the ground for 10 minutes before landing, folding its wings and driving down the runway.
But will sales of the new craft take off? The spokesman admitted the company wasn’t sure what demand will be but claimed it had taken 100 refundable deposits of $10,000 for the Transition, which will cost around $279,000 (£183,000) when production begins in 2015. (John Evans)