Flying car completes first round of flight testing

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Sir Richard Branson: Innovative projects like this should be encouraged. Yet again this shows how the aviation industry pioneers, and I hope the Transition is the start of a new era in air/ground technology which will become commonplace in a decade. It’s worth getting a garage just so you can park the Transition

Light aircraft developer Terrafugia has completed flight-testing of its proof-of-concept aircraft, the Transition, three months after the two-seat light sport aircraft took to the skies for the first time.

The "roadable" aircraft - dubbed the Flying Car - made 29 flights, says Woburn, Massachusetts-based Terrafugia "and has now completed the first of a four-stage process to bring the Transition into production".

The second phase of development is under way, with work on the beta prototype already in progress. First deliveries are earmarked for 2011.

"The proof-of-concept vehicle is the first and only Transition to be built thus far. It has now achieved its goals by demonstrating driving, flying and automated transformation between the two in one integrated aircraft," says Terrafugia.

"The flights conducted a plan set specifically for the Transition: characteristics such as handling, performance and take-off and landing, stability and stall were evaluated. B-Roll footage is available of representative flights. The flight-testing programme demonstrated the safety of the vehicle in the air while identifying modifications that will be incorporated into the next Transition model to be built, the Beta Prototype," he adds.

© Teffafugia

The Transition is designed to take off and land at local airports and drive on any road, says Terrafugia, which adds that transforming from aircraft to car takes the pilot less than 30s. The aircraft will cruise up to 725km (390nm) at more than 100kt (185km/h), it says, and can be driven at highway speeds on the road, fitting "in a standard household garage".

The company says the vehicle has front wheel drive on the road, a propeller for flight and is fuelled by unleaded automotive gasoline.

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