For anyone who’s ever wanted to skip airport security lines and boarding delays, a newly designed flying car may pave the way for future personal transportation.
Developers unveiled a scale model of the redesigned Transition "roadable aircraft" (pictured in a digital rendering) in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, Monday. The new design is both a rear-wheel drive road vehicle and a light sport aircraft that can cruise at 105 miles (170 kilometers) an hour.
Developed by the Terrafugia company, the tweaked design—which adds carlike headlights and a license plate holder, among other things—follows a proof-of-concept Transition, which was successfully tested in 2009.
Image courtesy Terrafugia
Flying Car Folds Its Wings
Among the features of the Transition flying car are foldable wings—shown in mid-transition in an illustration—that deploy for flight and retract for driving.
The wings are controlled from the cockpit, theoretically enabling an operator to drive to the airport, ready the wings, and take off—all without leaving the seat.
In June the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration granted a weight exemption to Terrafugia's latest model of flying car, shown in a digital illustration.
The waiver allows the Transition to remain classified as a light sport aircraft, despite extra weight that was added as designers brought the vehicle into compliance with Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards for road vehicles.
The Transition's automotive safety features include operator and passenger airbags, an energy-absorbing crush structure in the vehicle’s nose, and a rigid safety cage to protect occupants.
A rendering of the Transition’s interior shows the two-seat cockpit with its touch-screen interface and GPS navigation system. According to Terrafugia’s website, Transition-specific pilot training can be completed in as little as 20 hours.
The proof-of-concept Transition flies alongside a chase plane during a May 2009 test flight. According to Terrafugia, the new design features improvements based on data acquired during drive and flight testing of the proof-of-concept model.
Terrafugia's website sets the first deliveries of Transitions for late 2011.