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Terrafugia flying car moves to phase two

July 18, 2012, 03:08 pm

Terrafugia's Transition, the street-legal flying car, recently moved into the second of six planned phases of testing.

Terrafugia, which said the car isn't just a marketing gimmick, hopes all six phases will be completed by the end of the summer. The Transition can travel up to 115 mph while on the ground, getting more than 35 miles per gallon, allowing it to go 490 miles without refueling. Its wings unfold when the driver wants to take to the skies. All that is needed is nearly 1,700 feet of pavement for take off. When it comes time to store the vehicle, it is able to fit into a standard-sized garage.

Terrafugia estimates the Transition will be available on the market for $279,000 by next year. The company reported that 100 units have already been reserved, accounting for a backlog of $25 million. For those buyers, the Transition requires a Sport Pilot license and 20 hours of training after the car is delivered.

Phase two will focus on road testing the technology, focusing on drivetrain, suspension tuning, braking performance and road handling and to start documented American Society for Testing and Materials compliance flights, in particular, the aircrafts envelope expansion, airspeed system calibration, control surface effectiveness and power on and power off stalls. Officials noted that the prototype will not appear at the AirVenture aviation event in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, in order to not disrupt the Transition's flight tests.

“We are progressing well through both flight and drive testing," said Terrafugia COO Anna Mracek Dietrich. "Due to our aggressive drive and flight test schedule, we will not be bringing the Transition prototype to AirVenture in Oshkosh, later this month. Our executive team will be staffing our booth at AirVenture this year while our engineering team continues testing activities with the prototype.”

AirVenture is hosted by the Experimental Aircraft Association and expects nearly 500,000 aviation fans to be in attendance, along with more than 10,000 aircraft. Terrafugia will be on-site with a booth to show off the technology, even though the Transition couldn't make the trip.

“Getting the Transition into production is our top priority; we hope all our friends at Oshkosh will understand,” said Dietrich. “Our booth will feature photos and videos from the Transition’s flight tests. We invite everyone to stop by, say hi, and get an update on our progress.”

Pilots attending the event and planning on purchasing the Transition should also consider pilot life insurance as a safety net for loved ones.

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