Terrafugia’s Transition: the flying car zooms forward
Okay, so this isn’t exactly the DeLorean from Back to the Future nor is it the cute little bubble car George Jetson flew around, but sometimes television can thwart reality to a point that when the real thing comes out; we are a tad bit perplexed. Sort of how we felt when we saw the Transition from Terrafugia, Inc. Is this thing a plane or a car? Well, apparently it’s both and it is due for production in 2011.
Terrafugia, Inc. was started by five pilots whose mission was clear; innovative expansion of personal mobility. Work started back in 2006 and, since then, there have been many accomplishments with their version of the "flying car". About a year and a half ago, the Transition made its first flight. Before that Terrafugia released a computer-generated video that showed how the roadable aircraft could fold up its wings to be road-ready. Is it attractive? Heck no, but everyone remembers how the first cell phone looked (remember Zach Morris’ blocky contraption) and, given time, the aesthetic appeal could definitely turn this thing into a mass appealing transportation device. All we have to do is be patient and we - or our grandkids - can be riding around in a flying Porsche 911 (or a Volkswagen Minivan for those of us toting young ones).
Hit the jump to see the newly released specs for the Transition Roadable Aircraft.
Some features in the next generation design include:
- Automotive-style crash safety features including an energy absorbing crush structure in the nose of the vehicle and a rigid safety cage to protect the occupants.
- A customized, intuitive touch-screen interface in the cockpit.
- An improved wing with an optimized airfoil and a folding mechanism that operates smoothly and safely from inside the cockpit.
- A pusher propeller with an open empennage that makes efficient use of the 100 hp Rotax 912S mid-mounted engine in flight and is locked in place when driving.
- Rear-wheel drive with a continuously variable transmission (CVT) and tuned independent suspension for responsive road handling.
- Max, Vh: 100 kts (115 mph, 185 km/h)
- Cruise, Vc: 93 kts (105 mph, 172 km/h)
- Stall, Vs: 45 kts (51 mph, 83 km/h)
- Range: 425 nmi (490 mi, 787 km)
- Takeoff: 1700’ (518 m) over 50’ obstacle
- Gross takeoff weight: 1430 lbs (650 kg)
- Empty weight: 970 lbs (440 kg)
- Useful load: 460 lbs (210 kg)
- Fuel burn at cruise: 5 gph (18.9 L/h)
- Usable fuel: 23 gal (87L)
- Mileage on road: 35 mpg (14.9 km/L)
- Rear wheel drive on the ground
- Automotive-style entry and exit
- Two place, side by side
- Automated electromechanical folding wing
- No trailer or hangar needed
- Cargo area holds golf clubs
- Drive in case of inclement weather
- Proven 100 hp Rotax 912S engine
- Full vehicle parachute available
- Modern glass avionics
- Automotive crash safety features
- 80" (2m) tall
- 90" (2.3m) wide
- 18’ 9" (6m) long
- 78" (2m) tall
- 26’ 6" (8m) wingspan
- 19’ 9" (6m) long
- 48" at the shoulder
- Golf clubs
- Two place, side-by-side