Your dream of a flying car remain unfulfilled, but several companies claim they’re close to making it a reality. We recently heard about BlackFly, which promises to take you up and away with no pilot’s license needed. Terrafugia is taking a more “conventional” approach to the flying car conundrum. The Terrafugia Transition will take you wherever you want to go with its foldable wings, and you might be able to buy one next year.
Terrafugia has been showing off prototypes and making vague promises for several years, but this is the first time there’s been anything approaching a release date. We’re also getting more details about the specs of this 2-seater ground and air vehicle. The latest version of the Transition looks neither like a car nor like a plane, but it can operate as either.
According to Terrafugia, the Transition will be a hybrid vehicle with a gasoline engine and a lithium-ion phosphate battery. That’s for driving mode, though, In the air, you’ll rely on the gas engine, which burns five gallons of fuel per hour. Using the battery in car mode should help conserve fuel for when you take off.
The Transition’s wings fold up when not in use, allowing it to fit in standard lanes on public roads. It even has three rearview cameras in driving mode. Terrafugia says it complies with all NHTSA regulations, although I wonder how it’ll do in a crash test.
When the time comes to take off, you’ll need to find a runway and deploy the wings. It has a cruising speed of 100 miles per hour and a range of 400 miles. It can fly at altitudes of up to 10,000 feet. The single-propeller engine also has a boost mode for a quick burst of added speed while in the air. Terrafugia says the Transition respects all FAA rules, but you’re going to need a pilot’s license. If you happen to be a bad pilot, the Transition will have an emergency parachute system.
Terrafugia hasn’t provided a final price, but in the past, it floated around $280,000. Terrafugia says the Transition will be on display at the upcoming EAA AirVenture in Oshkosh, WI July 23-29. That also happens to be where the BlackFly will debut. Unlike the Transition, the BlackFly concept is all-electric with a shorter range and lower maximum speed. Since it counts as an ultralight, the designers claim you won’t need a special license.