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The Terrafugia Transition CarPlane Could Take Off Soon

It had to happen sooner or later. The Terrafugia Transition carplane could take off soon.

What is it? The Terrafugia Transition is a street-legal airplane. It is literally an airplane that also drives as a car.

In July, 2011, the Terrafugia Transition was cleared for being driven on the road by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Although in order to do so, the NHTSA has a requirement that the airplane must take off and land at an airport. The Terrafugia Transition is the first vehicle that flies and drives that has been granted exemptions by the NHTSA.

The Terrafugia Company

The Terrafugia Transition is the product of the Terrafugia Company. Terrafugia, which is derived from the Latin, “escape the earth,” was founded in 2006 by award-winning MIT-trained aeronautical engineers (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) and MBA’s (Master of Business Administration), who are also passionate private pilots. To put it simply, some business students at MIT got together with some aeronautical engineer students at MIT to start a business together.

From the first, Terrafugia made headlines. This is because the company’s goal was to build a vehicle for pilots that had the additional capability of driving on the ground rather than attempting to build a car that would fly.

Terrafugia built the Proof of Concept Vehicle in 2007 and 2008. After six months of intensive testing, the Terrafugia Transition made its first successful flight on March 5, 2009. The maiden flight was performed by a retired United States Air Force Reserve Colonel. It took place at New York’s Plattsburgh International Airport.

First flight successful

The maiden flight was not a long one. It only lasted for less than a minute. However, six more successful take-offs and landings were also made.

First production will be in Woburn, Massachusetts. According to Cliff Allen, vice president of sales for Terrafugia, the Woburn plant could produce about 30 of the vehicles a year. The site where large volume production will occur has not yet been determined.

If you would like to purchase a Terrafugia Transition, you will need to put down a $10,000 deposit that is refundable. The anticipated base purchase price is $279,000.

Late 2012 release date

The target date for the first orders to arrive was set for late 2011. That was then changed to an arrival date in late 2012. Allen says that Terrafugia is on schedule for the late 2012 delivery or an early 2013 release at the very latest.

The Terrafugia Transition is designed like a small airplane and a two-seater car. It has a wingspan of about twenty seven feet when it is functioning as an airplane. Using buttons inside of the cockpit of the car, the wings fold up so the vehicle can be used as a car. As an airplane, the Terrafugia Transition has a top speed of around 115 miles per hour and a range of 100 to 500 miles. As a car, it gets about 30 to 35 miles per gallon and can go around 65 miles per hour.

The way this vehicle would work if you owned one is that you could park it in your garage and drive it around like you would any car. The Terrafugia Transition runs on regular unleaded gas whether flying or driving. You would also have the option of driving the vehicle to a local airport and flying the airplane short distances of 100 to 500 miles.