A View from Brittany Sauser

Flying Car Lifts Off

The “aero-auto hybrid” made its flight debut on an airstrip in New York.

  • March 18, 2009

On March 5, at Plattsburgh International Airport in upstate New York, a “roadable aircraft” called Transition took flight for the first time. The flight lasted just 37 seconds (see video below), and according to the pilot, Phil Meteer, a retired U.S. Air Force colonel, it was merely a brief, wheels-up test along the runway. Transition made six more test flights between March 5 and 7. The flights were approved by the Federal Aviation Agency, which inspected Transition prior to takeoff.

Credit: Terrafugia

The weird-looking vehicle was developed by a startup based in Woburn, MA, called Terrafugia, which confirmed the test flight in a press conference at the Boston Museum of Science held this morning. The “aero-auto hybrid,” as the company calls it, was also temporarily on display in the museum’s main hall.

The aircraft is designed to be driven on public roads: its wings fold up in 30 seconds, and it operates in front-wheel drive and uses 27 miles per gallon. Transition also fits in a standard garage. In the air, it can reach speeds of 115 miles per hour on flights of 450 miles or less at 30 miles per gallon.

But sadly for budding flying-car pilots, it will not hit the market for at least two years, and even then it’ll cost around $194,000.

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