About six years after the company started, flying car manufacturer Terrafugia has announced its prototype has completed its first flight and it now hopes to begin selling its Transition model within a year.
The vehicle has two seats, four wheels and wings that fold up so it can be driven like a car. Last month, it flew at 1,400 feet for eight minutes.
Around 100 people have paid a $10,000 deposit to purchase a Transition, which will be introduced this week at the New York Auto Show. The vehicle is expected cost about $279,000.
Five years ago, Terrafugia, based in Woburn, Mass., was helped by the Federal Aviation Administration’s decision create a separate and less restrictive set of standards for light sport aircraft.
Terrafugia says an owner would need to pass a test and complete 20 hours of flying time to be able to fly the Transition, a relatively low hurdle for pilots.
The Transition can reach around 70 miles per hour on the road and 115 in the air, spokesman Steven Moscaritolo said. It flies using a 23-gallon tank of automotive fuel and burns 5 gallons per hour in the air. On the ground, it gets 35 miles per gallon.
Terrafugia delayed its initial launch in 2011 due to design challenges and problems with parts suppliers.
Article Last Updated: April 3, 2012.
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A sports, travel and business journalist for more than 45 years, James has written the new car review column The Weekly Driver since 2004.
In addition to this site, James writes a Sunday automotive column for The San Jose Mercury and East Bay Times in Walnut Creek, Calif., and a monthly auto review column for Gulfshore Business, a magazine in Southwest Florida.
An author and contributor to many newspapers, magazines and online publications, James has co-hosted The Weekly Driver Podcast since 2017.