Terrafugia to Debut Flying Car at New York Car Show
The world’s first flying car will be introduced this week at the New York Auto Show, according to a report by Associated Press in the Chicago Sun-Times. The Woburn, Mass.-based Terrafugia Inc., announced on Monday that its goal is to sell the flying car within the next year, now that a prototype has completed its first flight. The vehicle flew at 1,400 feet for eight minutes in its debut flight, writes Elizabeth Flock for The Washington Post’s BlogPost.
A Terrafugia press release says that the car show attendees “will get up-close and personal with the street-legal vehicle, witness wing-folding demonstrations, and meet some of the staff behind the futuristic design.” In addition, convention-goers will get to see “the future of personal transportation in action” via video footage of the flying car in flight and on the road.
Around 100 people have already put down a $10,000 deposit to get the $279,000 flying auto, named Transition, once it goes on sale. As Brett Berk writes for Bloomberg Businessweek’s Lifestyle, “Nearly 95 percent of those customers are pilots, which aligns with the company’s business plan to service existing members of the general aviation market.”
Berk reports that Terrafugia will be handing out thousands of surveys to consumers at the New York Car Show at the Jacob Javits Convention Center between Friday, April 6, and Sunday, April 15, to see how much interest the public has in buying the Transition. And, Berk says, “as a bonus, the place-holding deposit will be reduced to $2,500.”
Associated Press writes:
The Transition can reach around 70 miles per hour on the road and 115 in the air, spokesman Steven Moscaritolo said. It flies using a 23-gallon tank of automotive fuel and burns 5 gallons per hour in the air. On the ground, it gets 35 miles per gallon.
Additionally, Associated Press reports that airline industry analyst Robert Mann says that Terrafugia has come closer than any other company to making a flying car a reality. The Transition is going through a battery of automotive crash tests to ensure that it meets federal safety standards.
As this blog wrote on July 8, 2011, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration made the Transition the first flying car to receive several special exemptions. It needed those exemptions because of conflicts between regulations governing light aircraft and those governing cars:
These exemptions, announced by Terrafugia on June 30,  are specific to vehicles that both fly and drive on roads, and allow the Transition to have plastic windows instead of the heavier standard automotive safety glass, and tires not normally permitted on multi-purpose vehicles.
The government has also temporarily exempted Terrafugia from the requirement to equip vehicles with electronic stability control, which would add about six pounds to the Transition, reports Associated Press. Flock writes: “Even if Terrafugia clears all the roadblocks in its way, it may be a long time before flying cars become as widespread on Earth as they were on, say, ‘The Jetsons.’”
You can see a video of the flying car here:
Image by Terrafugia, Inc., used under Fair Use: Reporting.