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Next From Terrafugia -- Hybrid VTOL

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While Terrafugia continues to work on their Transition roadable-aircraft design, on Monday the company unveiled a plan to develop a four-seat, plug-in hybrid electric car capable of vertical takeoffs and landings, with fly-by-wire controls. The TF-X design is "designed to be a flying car for all of us," says the company website. It will be safe, simple and convenient, the company says, with a 500-mile range, 200 mph cruise speed, and the ability to take off vertically from a clearing with a 100-foot diameter. No technological breakthroughs are required to make the design work, the company said: "We believe these goals are achievable today."

The TF-X will be easy to operate, requiring only about five hours of training, the company says, and operators will be able to choose between "manual" or "automatic" settings that determine how much human input is needed. The vehicle will have a parachute, and will be capable of landing itself. Like the Transition design, the wings will fold to enable the vehicle to be driven on roads and stored in a standard-size garage. "This is the right time for us to begin thinking about the future of the company beyond Transition development," said Terrafugia CEO/CTO Carl Dietrich. "We are passionate about continuing to lead the creation of a flying-car industry and are dedicating resources to lay the foundations for our vision of personal transportation." A price for the aircraft has not yet been set. AVweb's Mary Grady spoke with Dietrich about the project, the plans for certification, and the projected costs. Click here to listen to the podcast.

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