The Terrafugia Transition, the "roadable aircraft" that's attracted considerable attention at aviation shows in the last year, flew for the first time on March 5, and its makers say they've changed aviation as a result. "This breakthrough changes the world of personal mobility. Travel now becomes a hassle-free integrated land-air experience. It's what aviation enthusiasts have been striving for since 1918," said Carl Dietrich, CEO of Terrafugia. While most "flying car" concepts to date have incorporated detachable or trailerable wings, the Transition has electromechanical folding wings that convert the vehicle in 30 seconds. The company says production models will meet Light Sport specifications and be street legal.
Test pilot Col. Phil Meteer (retired) said the first flight went well. "The first flight was remarkably unremarkable. I've flown several thousand hours in everything from Piper Cubs to F-16s, and the Transition flew like a really nice airplane." The first example will be used for advanced flight and road testing while a production prototype is built. The second aircraft will go through the ASTM review process for Light Sport certification. Terrafugia says Transition will cruise 450 miles at 115 knots and is capable of highway speeds in car mode. A 100-horsepower Rotax 912S powers both the pusher prop in flight mode and the front wheel drive on the ground. The aircraft is not intended to be flown from roads, but to provide immediate transportation to and from airports.
AVweb's original first flight video