The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recently granted special exemptions for the transition “roadable aircraft” known as the “Terrafugia Flying Car”. This was the last certification hurdle for the machine, which received FAA approval in June. The Terrafugia will be subjected to further testing before shipping begins from the manufacturer’s Massachusetts plant sometime next year.
Terrafugia says the Transition, which notched its maiden flight in 2009, is “the first (light airplane) to incorporate automotive safety features such as a purpose-built energy absorbing crumple zone, a rigid carbon fiber occupant safety cage, and automotive-style driver and passenger airbags. The wings on the 19-foot-long two-seater take less than a minute to fold. In flying mode, it has a wingspan of 26 feet, and a width of 90 inches in driving mode. It has a range of nearly 500 miles.”
Does this mean that everyone will be buying a flying car? Probably not. You’ll need a driver’s license and a sport pilot lisence to operate the Terrafugia, as well as around $250,000 to buy one. The company is already taking reservations, and reports that they have already received around 100 orders.