Flying Car Approved for Road Use

July 12, 2011 by  
Filed under News

Many of us have always dreamt of owning our own private jet or plane, and it seems that dreams can come true. The Terrafugia combines the convenience of an airplane with that of a car. It will not be able to help you out if you’re stuck in downtown traffic, as it will still need a runway, but at least it will make a quick trip to the next city a lot faster and more pleasant. A special grant that has been approved by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration for the production of the new flying car, allowing manufacturing to begin.

To be able to get the Terrafugia flying car to an airport it must be driven there, and without the approval of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the production of the aircraft would not have been able to go further. Called the Transition, the aircraft was tested in 2009. It was quite a challenge as designers had to ensure that it was not only a safe aircraft to fly, but also a safe mode of transport when used as a vehicle on the roads. There were a few stipulations made by the NHTSA that included the Transition being fitted with tires that could be used on the highways, and a windscreen manufactured from polycarbonate materials has been installed, as automotive safety glass would be too heavy. As a vehicle, the Transition has modern safety features such as airbags, a strong cage made from carbon fiber, as well as a crumple zone that absorbs energy should the Transition be involved in an accident.

As an aircraft, the Transition is a two-seater aircraft that has a wingspan of twenty-six feet and is nineteen feet in length. On the road it will reach speeds of up to sixty-five miles per hour, and a hundred and fifteen miles per hour in the air. It is fitted with a twenty gallon fuel tank and has a hundred horsepower four-stroke engine. What makes the Transition so innovative is that the pilot will be able to avoid bad weather by landing at the nearest airport and continuing his or her journey by land if they so please, and vice versa. After the flight, the pilot merely pushes one button, which makes the wings fold up and ready to drive home. The Transition might not be the flying car of the future that can make commuting in traffic easier, but it is a foot in the door for alternative aviation ideas and projects.

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