It is neither a science fiction movie nor a cartoon series; it is the reality we soon will live in, where cars will start to fly! The US aviation authority has finally given its approval for the commercial production of the first flying car that will be a 'light sport' aircraft able to reach a cruising speed of 185 km per hour in the sky.
Flying cars are back in the news this week with the Terrafugia Transition gaining FAA certification as a road-registerable aircraft. Exciting stuff, but the Transition doesn't quite satisfy our fantasies of being able to just press a button and lift off out of traffic, landing on the roof of our city office building to make that 9am meeting; it's basically a light plane with retractable wings that you can drive on the road – you're still stuck taking off and landing at airstrips
Terrafugia, a Massachusetts-based company, claims it is now set to sell the Transition Roadable Aircraft by holiday season next year.
Assuming you have $194,000 and a sport pilot’s license, the Transition Roadable Aircraft can be yours. If the weather, or your route, makes flying unsuitable, you can travel via asphalt (quick, someone come up with a retronym for automotive travel). Just fold up the wings so you don’t hit your fellow drivers. Terrafugia says you can store their light sport aircraft in your own garage, which is bound to cut down on the cost of ownership. According to their specs, this flight of fancy can get 30 m.p.g., assuming a speed of 65 m.p.h
The flying car will come equipped with airbags and assorted safety technology -- crumple zones, a safety cage -- to make it safe for driving. Drivers/pilots can also get a parachute included if they prefer.
So far, given the design of the Transition, public transportation via flying car -- think of Bruce Willis’ cab in Fifth Element -- is not doable, as only one other passenger can tag along with the driver/pilot. But there is enough room for golf clubs or skis, Terrafugia says.
The company is offering a sponsored course in acquiring a sport pilot’s license for as little as 20 hours of your time.