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Terrafugia temporarily exempt from safety standards

July 1, 2011, 04:57 pm

The company creating the Terrafugia roadable aircraft, or flying car, asked for and was given temporary exemption from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration for four federal motor vehicle safety standards, according to the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association.

The exemption was granted because the NHTSA found the company has made efforts to comply with the standards, but doing so would cause substantial economic hardship. Many of the impediments to compliance the Terrafugia has encountered are a result of the dual nature of the vehicle, the agency reported. The aircraft must also meet weight requirements of a light sport aircraft.

The company projects they will be the source of up to 500 manufacturing, engineering and support jobs by 2015, the news outlet reports. The transition option of turning the aircraft into a car may be able to help reduce the amount of pilots life insurance claims by giving VFR-only pilots the option to divert to the nearest airport if the weather deteriorates. The pilots could then finish their trip by road.

The agency granted three-year exemptions from tire selection, rims for cars and glazing materials. However, they only granted one-year exemptions from requirements for occupant crash protection, advanced airbags and electronic stability control systems, according to the media outlet. 

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