Is the flying car FINALLY here? First model set to go on sale in two years – and there is even a version that can take off vertically if you get stuck in a traffic jam…Mehn I feel relieved, so all this lagos traffic wahala finally has solution 🙂
The £190,000 ($300,000) Transition is part-sedan, part-private jet and is due to go on sale in 2015
Designers have also released plans for a TF-X model that can vertically take off from a standing position
The first flying cars are set to go on sale to the public as early as 2015.
Terrafugia has announced its Transition design, which is part sedan, part private jet with two seats, four wheels and wings that fold up so it can be driven like a car, will be on sale in less than two years.
The Massachusetts-based firm has also unveiled plans for a TF-X model that will be small enough to fit in a garage, and won’t need a runway to take off.
Terrafugia announced today that it’s working on the TF-X, a flying car that can take-off from standing still, and is hoping it will be available within 12 years
Motorised rotors attached to the wings of the TF-X, announced today, make it possible to take off from standing still. This means cars could switch from driving to flying when they encounter traffic. However, the wingspan requires a diameter of 100 feet to do so
The Transition can reach speeds of around 70 miles per hour on the road and 115 in the air.
It flies using a 23-gallon tank of automotive fuel and burns 5 gallons per hour in the air. On the ground, it gets 35 miles per gallon.
It has rear-wheel drive when on the road.
The Transition comes with two passenger airbags, and a full-vehicle parachute.
Last year, the Transition successfully flew at 1,400 feet for eight minutes.
Commercial jets fly at 35,000 feet.
However, it will not be cheap – the Transition will cost £190,000 ($300,000, N49,000,000)
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And Terrafugia says owners must have pilot’s licenses, and will need to pass a test plus complete 20 hours of flying time to be able to fly the car.
Despite the advances in technology the Transition demonstrates, critics have said that it is still not the vision of flying cars seen in many sci-fi films.
To answer these critics, Terrafugia has now also released designs for a TF-X Model of its Transition range.
According to Terrafugia, the vehicle will carry four people ‘in car-like comfort’.
It is expected to be able to fly, nonstop, for 500 miles.
The flying car has always had a special place in the American imagination.
Inventors have been trying to make them since the 1930s, according to Robert Mann, an airline industry analyst who owns R.W. Mann & Co. in Port Washington, New York.
But Mann thinks Terrafugia has come closer than anyone to making the flying cars a reality.
The government has already granted the company’s request to use special tires and glass that are lighter than normal automotive ones, to make it easier for the vehicle to fly.
Special rules: The federal government has eased certain regulations to allow vehicles like the Transition to come closer to reality
The government has also temporarily exempted the Transition from the requirement to equip vehicles with electronic stability control, which would add about six pounds to the vehicle.
Mann said Terrafugia was helped by the Federal Aviation Administration’s decision five years ago to create a separate set of standards for light sport aircraft. The standards govern the size and speed of the plane and licensing requirements for pilots, which are less restrictive than requirements for pilots of larger planes.
Imaginative: Inventors and engineers have been working on the flying car concept since the 1930s. Here, a 1947 Convair Model 118 ConvAirCar is seen in flight
Unholy alliance: The 1973 AVE Mizar attached a Cessna Skymaster airframe to a Ford Pinto. Its inventor was killed when the wings collapsed during a test flight
First generation: The 1930s Waterman Aerobile was the first simple flying car to successfully be produced (five were built) and flown
Mann questions the size of the market for the Transition. The general aviation market has been in decline for two decades, he said, largely because of fuel costs and the high cost of liability for manufacturers. Also, fewer people are learning how to fly.
‘This is not going to be an inexpensive aircraft to produce or market,’ he said.
‘It has some uniqueness, and will get some sales, but the question is, could it ever be a profitable enterprise?’
Mann sees the western US as the most likely market, where people could fly instead of driving long distances.
Terrafugia has been working on flying cars since 2006, and has already pushed back the launch once.