04 Apr 2012

Your GPS blurts out, "Warning heavy traffic detected in route, 4 miles ahead.  Would you like to re-route?"  You think, no, and instead issue the voice command, "Set destination to nearest CarPort runway."  It's the near future and you are in your Terrafugia Transition vehicle, also known as a "roadable aircraft".  After heading to the closest "CarPort" you hit the runway near the parking lot which now features a take off strip for such vehicles and soar at 115 miles per hour towards your destination.

This is the future proposed by many flying car manufacturers.  The Terrafugia Transition has two seats, four wheels and folding wings with a propeller. 

The New York Post is reporting that the Terrafugia will be unveiled at the New York International Auto Show April 6th through the 15th at the Jacob Javits Convention Center.

The Transition flies at a top speed of 115 miles per hour and has a range of 500 miles, while on the road it will top out at 70 miles per hour and get 35 miles to gallon using unleaded gasoline.  It has all the features of regular vehicles like airbags, crumple zones and seat belts.  The price, a mere $279,000 once it is available. 

Officially the vehicle is certified as a Light Sport Aircraft.  This means that getting the certificate will require 20 hours of flight training.  That's about half the time for a typical license.

The Transition completed its first flight last month, flying at 1400 feet for eight minutes.  By comparison, mainstream jets travel at 35,000 feet.

The vehicle has been around for several years now, and around 100 have put deposits down on purchasing the vehicle when it becomes available.  Many of them are not currently pilots.

The Tech-Stew Take Home

While this concept of a flying car is more like a plane that can travel on the road and hardly the flying cars envisioned in Back to the Future, it is still a type of craft that could become a common sight in the future, sort-of.  With this type of vehicle, it is more likely that you would see it appear as alternatives to taxi's or even taking short flights from one city to another.  It could be offered by transportation companies as another way to get from place to place, at a reduced cost. 

It's still also quite possible other versions of this type of vehicle may make their way to the everyday person in the future.  We may in fact be driving our car planes to a makeshift runway for takeoff one day.  At the same time, imagine the congestion in the skies if it were that common.  You think driving while distracted is an issue now, put several hundred (or more) of these in the skies over a metropolitan area and you could have instant danger in the skies that is, unless you are flying in a "Google" automated plane.  For now, we can keep dreaming of the flying cars we have wanted since at least the 1950s until one day they finally arrive.

Source:  newjerseynewsroom.com

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