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'Flying Car' Really Getting Off the Ground
July 4, 2010

Makers of "the flying car" have cleared a major hurdle and are planning to get their product in the hands of owners by the end of 2011.

Terrafugia, accompany based in Woburn, Mass., has been granted a special weight limit exemption from the Federal Aviation Administration for the Transition, "the flying car."

The vehicle is a melding of automobile and airplane technology that features fold-up wings on the side of a largish car. The wings unfold quickly, the company says, but drivers will still need a runway to get off the ground.

What is this machine of the future?

It's a car: It has front-wheel drive, seats two, and allows entry just like an automobile. It has a fuel tank of 20 gallons and gets 30 miles to the gallon. With a top speed of 65 mph, it can compete with many commuter vehicles.

It's a plane: It can cruise at up to 115 mph. In the air, it burns 5 gallons an hour.

The Transition is on the tall side. With the wings folded up and the driver in car mode, the vehicle is 6 feet, 9 inches tall. That's only six inches taller than the plane itself. The length is similar to longer trucks: 18 feet, 19 inches in auto mode and 19 feet, 2 inches in plane mode. The wingspan, unfolded, is 27 feet, 6 inches.

Unlike futuristic and movies that depict hundreds of cars zooming around the sky, the more likely scenario, given the price tag of the Transition — $194,000 — is that of a private pilot who wants the all-in-one convenience of combing a car and plane, thereby avoiding the hassles of driving to the airport, parking the car, flying the plan, then getting into another car, etc.

Terrafugia, a company founded in 2006 five students at MIT, has already taken 70 orders for the Transition, complete with big deposits.

Click here to read more about the company and the machine.


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