It’s bird! It’s a plane! No, well, kinda…it’s a flying car! The first flying cars are reportedly all set to go on sale to the public as early as next year. According to Terrafugia, the flying car’s manufacturer, their Transition street legal vehicle that has foldable wings and is part sedan, part mini jet, will be the first model to be launched. The vehicle can also go from car to plane in a brow-raising 20 seconds with just a quick switch flip. The Federal Aviation Administration and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration have reportedly given the Transition’s safety measures their stamp of approval, so an interested potential driver should not fret.
The Transition was designed sans a rear window but there is a camera, that can provide an operator with a clear picture of what is going on via an upfront screen. The vehicle also comes equipped with car-like features–seatbelts, side view mirrors that can be removed when taking off, a parachute (because you never know), airbags, a steering wheel for ground maneuvering that is interchangeable with a pilot’s steering stick for the air. The Transition also has four pedals two for driving (gas and brakes) and two rudder pedals for flying. Not just anyone can expect to get behind the wheel of a Transition either. In order to even think about maneuvering this car/plane, a sports pilot license is a must, plus the completion of 20 hours of flying time.
The Transition with its wings folded is about the size of a Cadillac Escalade and doesn’t need to be housed in a hanger, as it was designed to fit perfectly into any standard residential garage. Gassing up the Transition which is a rear wheel drive vehicle when it’s-on-the-ground is reportedly, no chore at all. The sedan can get fueled up with premium-unleaded fuel and averages about 35 mpg. When the two-passenger Transition is air-bound, its fuel sipping average is about 20 mpg.
Taking off in plane-mode is not a quick and easy feat because you’ll need quite a bit of room to spread those Transition wings and a runway is also required. Sharing runway space at the large international airports is also just not going to happen according to Terrafugia. The car/plane has to use one of 5,000 general aviation airports in order to take flight and once it does, it can average a speed of about 70 mph.
Terrafugia has the Transition all ready to go and are also reportedly working on a model, the TF-X, that won’t actually need a runway but this is still about a good 10 or more years away.
Oh and btw, the sticker price for the Transition is but a mere $279,000.
Check out the Transition’s test flight video!