Flying Car, Already Cleared For Skies, Now Cleared For Roads Too

from the but-where's-my-flying-car dept

Ah, the cry of we-want-the-future-now folks has been “where’s my flying car?” Well, a very simple version of one may finally be coming to market. A year ago, we noted that the Terrafugia Transition “roadable aircraft” had been approved by the FAA for flight as a light sports aircraft (meaning you don’t even need a full pilots license). But it apparently took another year for the Transition to get the necessary “exemptions” from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to let the thing go on the road.

In case you’re wondering why it needed exemptions, the LA Times has the details:

So what kinds of special exemptions does a “roadable aircraft” (best name ever) need? Well, special windows, for one. Regular laminated automotive safety glass is too heavy for the Transition while in the air, and there’s always a danger that a bird could fracture it. (Dang birds!) Instead of glass windows, the Transition will use a polycarbonate material less prone to shattering. NHTSA also signed off on the use of special tires.

Now, of course, this isn’t really the Jetsons-like vision of the flying car people have talked about for ages. The reason it’s called a “roadable aircraft” rather than a “flying car” is that the emphasis here is definitely on the aircraft part, and you still have to take off and land at an airport. It’s just that you can drive to and from the airport in the same vehicle. And it’ll only set you back $250,000 (about $50,000 more than what was reported last year). By the time it actually hits the market next year, perhaps it’ll cost even more.

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Companies: faa, nhtsa, terrafugia

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Comments on “Flying Car, Already Cleared For Skies, Now Cleared For Roads Too”

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Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Oh joy...

Except not. This thing is an airplane first and a car second.
That means you have to have a small aircraft pilot’s license to be able to do anything in the air with this thing.

With the amount of time, cost, and effort it takes to get a pilot’s license, as well as the cost of the roadable aircraft itself, you can be sure everything you just listed off is not going to happen.

Enjoy the shattering of your dreams.

killscar (profile) says:

Re: Re: Oh joy...

I sat back and thought about how naive your response to my light-hearted comment was and I briefly hesitated posting this as I don’t want to get into an argument but I couldn’t resist. You are overlooking a few factors… 1) Theft, I’m sure there will be instructions on the web on how to hotwire one of these bad boys. I’m sure somebody with flight simulator will think thatthey can give this thing a whirl.

2) Rich kids not appreciating the value of daddy’s dollar. You are assuming that everyone will be doing what they are supposed to be doing. We all know what happen when you assume.

Joe says:

They forgot to get a designer to work with them. Interesting but hella-ugly. I can’t see this competing with the Icon A5. That was designed by an F-16 pilot and a skateboarder and is also ‘roadable’, as in you can pull it on a trailer like a boat and also park it in the driveway. But it has the advantage of being dead sexy and half the price.

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