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Terrafugia Ready For First Public Flights

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Terrafugia has brought its most recent version of the Transition roadable aircraft to EAA AirVenture this week for its first flights before an airshow crowd. The first demo is expected on Monday afternoon, with a second flight Wednesday at 8 p.m., before the night airshow. The airplane will be driven from the Terrafugia booth out to the runway, take off and fly; then after landing, the pilot will fold the wings and drive back to the exhibit, Terrafugia CEO Carl Dietrich told AVweb on Sunday. This is the second prototype, and the design will be tweaked for a third version, now in the works, Dietrich said. That aircraft will be powered by the fuel-injected Rotax 912 IS with an updated engine management system and better fuel economy.

Dietrich said the company is "still learning" from this airplane and he expects the third-generation prototype will evolve into the final conforming aircraft for production. One major change in the works for that version will be to make the tail booms and all the outside components of the aircraft replaceable, so if they are damaged the aircraft can be more easily repaired. "That will keep insurance costs in check," Dietrich said. The aircraft will be on display all week in the Terrafugia exhibit south of Hangar C.

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