Terrafugia Completes Phase 1 Flight Testing

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Phase 1 flight testing of Terrafugia's roadable aircraft production prototype was successfully completed last month, and the company is pushing forward toward LSA certification and approvals from the NHTSA. Terrafugia's Transition aircraft will have to earn the approval of both the FAA and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) before it can go into production. The company says the vehicle has so far passed handling tests that included power-on and power-off flight, and aircraft stability. The team also checked engine cooling and determined optimal settings for different phases of flight. The current flight test program involves five more phases, but now ground (road) testing will be mixed in.

On the road, the aircraft's ground drivetrain and handling will be evaluated and tweaked. Its suspension will be tuned and its brakes will be tested. Then more serious testing will begin as the Terrafugia team pushes toward compliance with light sport aircraft rules and NHTSA standards. The team posted a video compilation of recent tests. The new design appears to leap off the runway after a relatively long ground roll, appears stable in cruise, and rolls well when breaking away from the camera aircraft in flight.