The Transition: Yet another promise of flying cars

by James

Transition Car plane

“Where are the flying cars?! They promised me flying cars!” Those were the famous words of actor Avery Brooks as he kvetched about how the promise of the future wasn’t really all that promising. Well, maybe it is. Graduates from MIT have formed Terrafugia Inc., which has created a proof of concept for a prototype car plane is known as The Transition, a 19-foot, two-seat light-sport aircraft who’s foldable wings will allow pilots to land at an airport and then taxi right on to a nearby freeway for the drive home.

Foldable wing aircraft are nothing new. The Navy has perfected it to an art form with such famous aircraft as the Corsair. And a car plane design has presented itself in a wide variety of designs. There was even one featured in the James Bond movie “The Man with the Golden Gun.”

Various views of the Transition

But what makes this aircraft so cutting edge is the ability to drive on the freeway after folding the wings. The only downside is the same problems that carplane makers like Alfred Moeller are running into – the lack of infrastructure necessary for widespread support of such an endeavor. Drivers need to also be trained pilots as the technology for an auto piloted consumer grade vehicle is still in it’s infancy.

But if those problems can be surmounted, then Terrafugia’s Transition may be an affordable answer. With a ballpark price of around price of US$150,000, anyone who can buy an RV or really nice boat can takeoff and land at anyone of 6,000 private airports around the country. And with advance orders of about 100 Transitions, America can look for the promise of flying cars to be met sometime before 2012.

Meanwhile, you can always download the fly the simulator version for free.

Video here – http://www.terrafugia.com/KOSH07video.html

Source: The Gray Old Lady

3 reviews or comments

Michael Says: November 11, 2007 at 10:08 am

Until the aircraft can depart from ‘any’ location, e.g., roads, etc… the idea will always be a very stupid one, indeed. It’s simpler to drive to the aircraft in your favorite road machine, park and walk a few feet and fly in a machine ‘built’ for the air. Heck, Moeller’s ship is still the only one that flys for goodness sakes…
mjl

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