MIT Flying Car Attracting Investors

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The MIT students and faculty who are developing what they hope will be a practical, roadable, light-sport-compatible airplane say they've had offers of deposits, requests for dealerships and interest from hundreds of investors in their creation. As AVweb told you earlier this year, the Transition was runner-up in MIT's annual Entrepreneurs Contest. Carl Dietrich, a Ph.D student in aeronautics and astronautics at MIT, the principal designer of the vehicle and president of Terrafugia Inc., the company formed to develop it, said interest has come from all over the world. He told Bloomberg News at least 75 pilots have offered to put deposits on the (currently quoted near) $148,000 invention, which hasn't yet proceeded past the mock-up stage. The Transition is a two-place craft that Dietrich says will fit the Light Sport Aircraft category (1,320 lbs., 120 mph cruise). He said the idea is to be able to drive the Transition to a nearby airport where the wings will unfold and it will take off. "We're trying to approach this from a pilot's perspective, someone who is thinking, 'What would be nice is to keep my plane in my garage at home instead of paying $400 or $500 in hangar fees,''' Dietrich said. The company intends to have the mock-up at EAA AirVenture in July.