The FAA has just given a weight exemption to the Terrafugia Transition, a flying car (pics and video below). Even though it’s 120 lbs over the limit of 1,320 lbs, the FAA is classifying it as a “light sport aircraft”. This means only 20 hours of flight training are required to legally operate it in aircraft mode. It was likely given an exemption because the extra weight was for safety features like airbags, crumple zones, reserve tank of pixy dust, a roll cage, a guard velociraptor, and a full vehicle parachute if the engine fails. Kind of important stuff if you’re going to be flying a car with 20 hours of training.
Terrafugia says that one of the major advantages of the Transition over ordinary light aircraft is safety — in the event of inclement weather, it can simply drive home instead of either being grounded or flying in unsafe conditions.
The company says that 70 people have ordered the car, leaving a $10,000 (£6,650) deposit each. The car is expected to retail at $194,000 (£129,000). Deposits are held in escrow, meaning that should the company go bankrupt before delivery, the money will be refunded. [Telegraph]
It has a cruising speed of 115 mph with a range of 460 miles in flight on a full 20-gallon tank. It can carry a 430 lb payload. When driven, it gets 30 mpg while traveling 65 mph. When folded it’s 6′ 8″ wide, 6′ 9″ tall, and 18′ 9″ long. When unfolded for airplane mode, it grows to a girthy 27′ 6″ wide, 6′ 3″ tall, and 19′ 2″ long. Don’t act like you’re not impressed.