Quirky News

  • 29 June 2010, 13:49

Flying car set to take off

A flying car is to go into commercial production after manufacturers were given a special exemption by US aviation officials.

The Terrafugia Transition is designed as a 'light sport' aircraft, the smallest kind of private aeroplane under FAA classification.

But manufacturers found it impossible to keep under the 1,320lb weight limit, once they had added safety features - such as airbags, crumple zones and roll cage - required for road vehicles.

Uniquely, however, the FAA has granted the Transition an exemption - allowing it to be classified as a light sport aircraft despite being 120lb over limit, reports the Daily Telegraph.

Light sport aircraft licences require just 20 hours' flying time, making them much easier to obtain than full private licences.

The two-seater Transition can use its front-wheel drive on roads at ordinary highway speeds, with wings folded, at a respectable 30mpg.

Once it has arrived at a suitable take-off spot - an airport, or adequately sized piece of flat private land - it can fold down the wings, engage its rear-facing propellor, and take off.

Its cruising speed in the air is 115mph, it has a range of 460 miles, and it can carry 450lb. It requires a 1,700-foot runway to take off and can fit in a standard garage.

Terrafugia says that one of the major advantages of the Transition over ordinary light aircraft is safety - in the event of bad weather, it can simply drive home instead of being grounded or flying in unsafe conditions.

The car is expected to retail at about 130,000. The company says that 70 people have already ordered the car, leaving a 6,650 deposit each.