Mass market flying car may become a reality

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The Skycar got the most hype, but Terrafugia's Transition may be the first real mass-market flying car. Image: Wikimedia Commons

The flying car has been a thing of legend since the 1950s. One East Coast-based company is getting closer than most to making the mass-market flying car a true reality. The light-sport aircraft/car hybrid is slated to be sold for around $190,000.

History of the flying car

There have been dozens of attempts to create a mass-market flying car over the years. The Autoplane was built in 1917, and Glenn Curtiss had plans of building it for the mass-market, but World War I intervened. The Aerocar was the 1950s attempt at a flying car, and it also came close — but safety concerns left the Aerocar grounded. The Skycar has been promised since the 1970s, but after 30 years of promises the company would be listed for trading soon, the SEC stepped in with charges that the creator was providing “false and misleading statements” about the Skycar.

Why the Terrafugia is different

Terrafugia, a company based in Woburn, Mass., is promising that its “roadable aircraft” will make it to the mass market within the next few years. The company is confident because the FAA has created a new category of pilot’s license, called the “light-sport aircraft.” The light-sport classification requires only 20 hours of flying time to get certified — 30 hours less than getting a driver’s license in California, Colorado, New York, Delaware and many other states. A fully functioning Terrafugia Transition has been tested on the road and in the air, and test pilots give the vehicle the thumbs-up.

Get yourself a Terrafugia Transition

If you’re excited about the Terrafugia Transition, you can put down a deposit. The company is requesting a $10,000 refundable deposit to hold a Transition. The final cost of the vehicle is expected to be $190,000. Unlike other flying cars, it will run on premium-grade unleaded fuel, rather than airline-grade fuel. Terrafugia hopes to have the vehicle approved by the NTSB, FAA and other regulatory agencies by the end of 2011 and ready for sale by 2012.


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