Are you a fan of the Fifth Element movie? would you like to get hold of a flying car to get to work? You might not have to wait too long for the reality.
Terrafugia Inc have announced yesterday that their prototype flying car has completed its first flight which brings the company closer to their goal of selling the flying car to customers within the year. The car is called the ‘Transition' – it has two seats, four wheels and wings which can fold up so it can be driven like a regular car. Last month it was able to fly at 1,400 feet for eight minutes. This is much lower than a commercial jet, which travels at 35,000 feet above the ground.
The audience is clearly excited as the company have already taken 100 preorders for $10,000. The Transition won't be cheap however, with the retail price expected to be around $279,000. We expect Jeremy Clarkson will be testing it on Top Gear next year.
Sadly the car has no vertical liftoff like that Harrier Jumpjet – you need a runway to leave the ground. This marks a breakthrough for inventors, as they have been trying to create a ‘flying car' now since the 1930's.
The American government seem firmly behind the company as they have already granted Terrafugia the request to use special tires and glass which are lighter than normal automotive counterparts. This will help the car to take off easier. An official report from the Associated Press adds “The government has also temporarily exempted the Transition from the requirement to equip vehicles with electronic stability control, which would add about six pounds to the vehicle. The Transition is currently going through a battery of automotive crash tests to make sure it meets federal safety standards.”
The Transition can reach speeds of up to 70 miles per hour on the road and 115 in the air. It uses a 23 galloon tank of fuel and burns around 5 gallons per hour in the air. On the ground it gets 35 miles per gallon.
Kitguru says: We would expect sales to be low, due to the price, but also because the driver would need certification on his or her ability to fly a craft.