The Terrafugia Transition, the well known ‘flying car’ or ‘roadable aircraft,’ has just been officially declared road legal after a two year wait.
According to sources, a large part of the delay was due to the fact that the vehicle used light weight plastic windows, as opposed to the safety glass that is now common feature on all motor vehicles. Despite this, the United States National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, thanks to a special dispensation, finally passed measures that would allow the vehicles to be deemed road worthy.
As well, the Terrafugia has also been allowed to use heavier grade tires, which normally are not permitted for standard motor vehicles.
However, there are still more obstacles in the way before full production can begin. Last year the Federal Aviation Administration ruled that the aircraft was 110 lbs over the maximum legal weight for a light sport class aircraft.
Were it not for these delays, the vehicle would likely have been in full production by now. The vehicle was fully designed and tested by the end of 2009, but was forced to sit waiting until these legal matters could be sorted out. As it stands the makers expect to be able to leap over the final few hurdles and have the vehicle ready for production by late 2012.
The Terrafugia will likely be marketed with a hefty $200,000 USD price tag, along with a $10 000 USD minimum deposit. However, when you consider how much some exotic sports cars of the non-flying variety go for these days, this price tag isn’t all that much higher. Besides, how many of them can have wings fold out at the push of a button?
Don’t expect to see people suddenly driving off into the sky once these vehicles start hitting the roads. The Terrafugia needs 1700 feet of open space in order to properly take-off, a modest runway by any count.