The first flying car has been approved by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to fly in the U.S. airspace. The car-plane will be flying at a top speed of 186 km/hr and will be flown by a single pilot inside its tiny cockpit. To fit modern roads, the aircraft will be able to fold wings.
The Terrafugia Transition received a Special Light-Sport Aircraft airworthiness certificate from the FAA, giving it the green light for takeoff.
A flight-only version of the craft is now available to pilots and flight schools, though it will be another year or so before its car components are ‘street legal’ – it still needs to meet road safety standards.
Due to the small size of this plane, it will be able to take-off and land in small airport, airstrips or highways and then quickly convert into driving mode in under a minute.
Terrafugia, the firm that manufacturers this flying plane is Chinese-owned and has been optimistic to produce a street-legal flying car that can also get clearance to fly in the most congested airspaces in the world: The U.S. airspace.
‘Our team remained focused, improved our quality system, completed the critical aspects of the design, built the vehicle, completed 80 days of flight testing, delivered 150 technical documents and successfully passed the FAA audit,’ Colburn, the Terrafugia CEO said.
The aircraft has two engines: The plane engine that can run on either premium gasoline fuel (same as the grade used in high-end vehicles such as Mercedes-Benz or BMW) or on 100LL jet-fuel. On the other hand, the car motor in this aircraft is powered by a hybrid electric motor. Similar to the one used in a Toyota Prius hybrid vehicle.
This aircraft weighs 1,300 pounds and has fixed landing gear and a 27-foot-wide wingspan. The wing can be folded and extended as needed when on the roads and in the air respectively.
Retailing for U.S $400,000 each, the Terrafugia TF-X version has a range of 643 km while travelling at a top speed of 186 km/hr, with a maximum altitude of 10,000 ft ceiling.