First Flight For Terrafugia Prototype
Terrafugia's production prototype of its Transition street-legal airplane took flight for the first time just over a week ago, the company announced on Monday. The first flight took place in Plattsburgh, N.Y., on Friday, March 23, the company said. The flight lasted for eight minutes, staying in the airport vicinity, and reached an altitude of 1,400 feet above ground level. The flight "demonstrated the controllability and safe operational characteristics of the aircraft," the company said. An earlier version of the airplane flew in 2009, providing data that helped in the design of the current prototype. The current version is scheduled to complete the flight testing required to qualify as a light sport aircraft, with first deliveries expected within a year. Click here for video from the flight -- and the drive to the airport. (MP4 file)
The brief first flight demonstrated the controllability and safe operational characteristics of the aircraft, the company said. Terrafugia CEO Carl Dietrich said the flight showed that his team can accomplish "what had been called an impossible dream." Six phases of flight testing are planned, with two test articles. The design will be capable of driving on roads and highways, parking in a single-car garage, and flying with unleaded auto gas. AVweb spoke with Dietrich about the program at AOPA Summit in September; click here for the video.