A parallel Worlds

Sunday March 15 2009 / Science & Technology

City-to-city, door-to-door travel takes a step closer, with the Terrafugia Transition flying car. 


And while functionality appears to have dominated the styling, hopefully it will hopefully look less like an ugly duckling and more like a swan when it spreads its wings and soars.


Terrafugia was founded in 2006 by award-winning MIT-trained aeronautical engineers and MBA's – who also happen to be passionate private pilots. The company’s mission is to provide innovative solutions to the challenges facing personal aviation.

The Terrafugia Transition uses normal unleaded fuel, will fit into a garage and can transform itself from a two-seater road car to a plane in 15 seconds.

The Transition is powered by the same 100bhp engine on the ground and in the air.


Terrafugia claims it will be able to fly up to 800 kms on a single tank of petrol at a cruising speed of 190 km/hr. Up to now, however, it has been tested only on roads at up to 145 km/hr.

There are still one or two hickups to overcome: getting insurance may be a little difficult and finding somewhere to take off may not be straightforward as the the only place in the USA in which it is legal to take off from a road is Alaska.


Cruise: 100 kts (115 mph)
Rotate: 70 kts (80 mph)
Stall: 45 kts (51 mph)
Range: 400nm (460 mi)
Takeoff over 50' obstacle: 1700'
Fuel burn: 5 gph
Fuel tank: 20 gallons
Useful Load: 430 lbs
On road: 30 mpg, 65 mph
Light Sport Aircraft (LSA)

Front wheel drive on the ground
Automotive-style entry and exit
Two place, side by side
Automated electromechanical folding wing
No trailer or hangar needed
Cargo area holds skis, fishing poles or golf clubs

Drive in case of inclement weather
Proven 100 hp Rotax 912S engine
Full vehicle parachute available
Modern glass avionics
Automotive crash safety features

The Terrafugia Transition  is expected to land be commercially available mid-2010.

For more information please visit www.www.terrafugia.com

Suggested by
Ian Skellern