Skip to main content

This is not a new dream, this notion that we could all have flying cars. Indeed the gadget-lovers, early-adopters, and otherwise impatient among us have been annoyed since reaching 21 only to find that the jet packs and rocket cars of The Jetsons hadn't come universally true yet.

But it goes beyond cartoons. The Pietenpol Air Camper, which could, arguably, be homebuilt by an enthusiast, came from the imagination of an enthusiast who wanted to see this dream come true.  From Gizmag's newsletter today comes another instalment: Terrafugia's Transition:

The Terrafugia Transition is a light sport, roadable airplane under development by Terrafugia since 2006
.

In contrast to the US Army's early entry into common-man aviation, the Flying Jenny, and the later entries in the build-your-own sweepstakes (including the half-size warbirds   that became available as plans or kits in the 1980s and touted the ease of building a genuine high performance experimental aircraft in your garage), though, the new flying car doesn't look ... like a station wagon with wings. It's got all the panache of an F-22, right down to the (follow me over the Orange Windsock)

twin tails, and better still it's got gull-wings that fold away for going down the street. Waivered to bear the 100 extra pounds of NHTSA-mandated car-safety gear it must carry, the Terrafugia has now finished its first phase of flight testing. It even fuels up at the corner gas station.

As an airplane it's a little stouter than an ultralight -- almost in basic-trainer range:

    Maximum speed: 100 kts (115 mph or 185 km/h)    Cruise speed: 93 kts (107 mph or 172 km/h)    Stall speed: 45 kts (51 mph or 82 km/h)    Range: Flying - 425 nmi (489 mi; 787 km) () ; Driving - 805 mi (1,296 km; 700 nmi)    Maximum speed on road: 70 mph (110 km/h)[7]    Fuel economy in cruise flight: 5 US gal (19 L) per hour, 21.4 mpg-US (11.0 L/100 km; 25.7 mpg-imp)    Fuel economy on road: 35 mpg-US (6.7 L/100 km; 42 mpg-imp)    Certifications: Both FAA and FMVSS certifications planned

Compare those numbers to a Beechcraft Skipper (numbers from Wikipedia for both aircraft):

    Cruise speed: 105 knots (121 mph, 195 km/h)
    Stall speed: 47 knots (54 mph, 87 km/h) (flaps down)
    Range: 412 nmi (475 mi, 764 km) at 8,500 ft (2,600 m) (econ cruise)
    Service ceiling: 12,900 ft (3,930 m)
    Rate of climb: 720 ft/min (3.65 m/s)

and note that there's also a not-too-shabby two-seater car component to the Transition.

 Because it's considered a light-sport aircraft, the requirements for pilot fitness physicals for the Terrafugia flying car might be more accessible than aircraft requiring commercial or conventional licensure.

Maybe we're finally going to get to see that future, eh?

Originally posted to BlackSheep1 on Mon Jul 02, 2012 at 09:03 PM PDT.

Also republished by Kossack Air Force.

EMAIL TO A FRIEND X
Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags

?

More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

  •  Tips for better realization (17+ / 0-)

    of the bright future we all wanted than having Tazers (tm) in every police department and sheriff's office, but still not having a working moon base, flying cars, or robots to do the dishes?

    LBJ & Lady Bird, Sully Sullenberger, Molly Ivins, Barbara Jordan, Ann Richards, Drew Brees: Texas is No Bush League! -7.50,-5.59

    by BlackSheep1 on Mon Jul 02, 2012 at 09:03:40 PM PDT

  •  I give you the 1949 Aerocar. ... (11+ / 0-)

    From the giant brain of the late, great Molt Taylor.

    The future's so bright, I gotta wear shades!

  •  don't see how the most of us afford a plane. (3+ / 0-)

    sorry.

    looks like a great toy for the rich, however.

    •  You might be surprised. (7+ / 0-)

      Many are turning to homebuilt airplanes.  Also, you can pick up a well maintained older airplane for the price of a good used car.  

      The Experimental Aircraft Association is an organization of hobbyists who build their own airplanes.  The technology ranges from the very simple to one company that has a kit of a supersonic jet.  

      The general who wins the battle makes many calculations in his temple before the battle is fought. The general who loses makes but few calculations beforehand. - Sun Tzu

      by Otteray Scribe on Mon Jul 02, 2012 at 09:30:06 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  A toy for the rich and stupid . (0+ / 0-)

      I'm waiting for a dish washing machine that I can use to polish my car !!!
      A pair of snow skis that I can use as a ladder ,
      a bowling ball that is a unicycle ,
      a lap top computer that is a car jack !

      Until then I will fondle my miracle one size fits all wrench and dream  

      "Drop the name-calling." Meteor Blades 2/4/11

      by indycam on Mon Jul 02, 2012 at 09:31:48 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  yea - if you're solid middle class you can afford (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      BlackSheep1, mookins

      to play. It's a matter of priorities. Some folks like to go to shows and out to eat often. Some folks like to take exotic vacations. Some folks like to fly planes. It can be done on a middle class budget. Myself, I have no desire. I don't like climbing a ladder.

      if a habitat is flooded, the improvement for target fishes increases by an infinite percentage...because a habitat suitability index that is even a tiny fraction of 1 is still infinitely higher than zero, which is the suitability of dry land to fishes.

      by mrsgoo on Mon Jul 02, 2012 at 09:48:04 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  mrsgoo: I hate ladders. I love planes. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        sjburnman, Otteray Scribe

        The difference is the likely result of an unexpected loss of altitude.
        I'm liable to live if I fall of the ladder -- and it's a good bet I won't like it.

        LBJ & Lady Bird, Sully Sullenberger, Molly Ivins, Barbara Jordan, Ann Richards, Drew Brees: Texas is No Bush League! -7.50,-5.59

        by BlackSheep1 on Mon Jul 02, 2012 at 10:54:43 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  You would probably be shocked... (4+ / 0-)

      to find how little it actually costs to purchase a used airplane. I haven't flown for a couple decades now, but I purchased a used Cessna 150 back in 1988 for $6K and a couple years later purchased a Cessna 182 for about $12K. I'm sure prices are higher today, but look at what the price of a new car is. I'll bet you can still purchase a used airplane for far less than the average cost of a new car.

      On the other hand, the maintenance may bankrupt you!!

      Never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by stupidity.

      by reflectionsv37 on Mon Jul 02, 2012 at 10:11:03 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  that, and hanger fees (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Otteray Scribe, BlackSheep1, mookins

        Which this aircar would solve: just drive it home and park it in your garage.

        •  That is another thing about some homebuilts. (5+ / 0-)

          Many of them, including the Storch replica in the video I posted, have folding wings and are easily roadable.  Some do not even require a trailer, but roll on their own tires, with a tow hitch attached to the tailwheel.  Of course, I would not want to go very far, especially on a dirt or gravel road with a plane in tow.  

          Many of the folding wing airplanes use the same mechanical techniques as older carrier based aircraft.  I think that one person can unfold and set up a Kitfox in a matter of a few minutes.  

          The general who wins the battle makes many calculations in his temple before the battle is fought. The general who loses makes but few calculations beforehand. - Sun Tzu

          by Otteray Scribe on Tue Jul 03, 2012 at 07:27:42 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  I have followed air car technology (4+ / 0-)

    ever since Molt Taylor designed the Aerocar.  My primary concern from the first time I saw a picture of the Aerocar on the cover of a magazine, was its actual roadability.  Think about parking lot rash, FOD (foreign object debris to non aviators) and all the other bad things that can happen to a car.  Would you risk flying in a vehicle that had been left in a large parking lot several hours?  

    I once had my landing gear hang up on me when a pebble got lodged in the squat switch on the nose gear.  With the squat switch jammed, the gear refused to retract because of a pebble the size of an English pea.  At least it wasn't the other way around.  I picked that pebble up on the ramp.  Think about what I could have picked up driving home on a public road.

    A grand concept, but not practical, methinks.  I would rather see my money put into something that will take off and land in very short distances.  I don't care for helicopters, which are 38,000 parts all trying to fling themselves in different directions.  Something more like this kitplane.

    This 3/4 size replica of the WW-II German Storch observation aircraft has a stall speed of 16 mph with one person in it.  Two people jacks the stall speed up to an 'impressive' 20 mph.

    The general who wins the battle makes many calculations in his temple before the battle is fought. The general who loses makes but few calculations beforehand. - Sun Tzu

    by Otteray Scribe on Mon Jul 02, 2012 at 09:25:13 PM PDT

  •  A road legal gyrocopter (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Otteray Scribe, Simplify

  •  I'm thinking used Kia and a Piper Super Cub... (4+ / 0-)

    ...mostly because I'm pretty sure my neighbors aren't going to be all that down with me turning the local streets into an aerodrome just because I can...

    If I have to drive to the local airport anyway, I might as well drive there in a car and take to the air in an airplane.  If I end up with MIG's on my tail, I might regret that Piper Cub choice, but I'll take that chance for now...

    "In a nation ruled by swine, all pigs are upward mobile..." - Dr. Hunter S. Thompson

    by Jack K on Mon Jul 02, 2012 at 09:40:25 PM PDT

    •  Of course, you could cut out the middleman (5+ / 0-)

      and get a Mig-21.  There are a few Mig-21s on the open market for less than $90K, and the seller might throw in an extra engine at no added cost.  Nothing like having a Mach 2 Russian fighter to get the neighbors talking as you tool around the pattern on a Sunday afternoon.

      The general who wins the battle makes many calculations in his temple before the battle is fought. The general who loses makes but few calculations beforehand. - Sun Tzu

      by Otteray Scribe on Mon Jul 02, 2012 at 09:47:51 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  LOL! (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Otteray Scribe, Jack K, BlackSheep1

        if a habitat is flooded, the improvement for target fishes increases by an infinite percentage...because a habitat suitability index that is even a tiny fraction of 1 is still infinitely higher than zero, which is the suitability of dry land to fishes.

        by mrsgoo on Mon Jul 02, 2012 at 09:50:18 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Now THERE'S a thought... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Otteray Scribe

        ...and it might make a coupe of them reconsider firing up the lawnmower at 0800 on Sunday morning, if I can only scrounge up some underwing attachments that look like Hellfire missiles...

        "In a nation ruled by swine, all pigs are upward mobile..." - Dr. Hunter S. Thompson

        by Jack K on Mon Jul 02, 2012 at 10:01:41 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I have my own way of putting a stop to that. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          BlackSheep1

          I have a Rossi .60 and a McCoy .60 Redhead speed model airplane engines that need breaking in. Since they are speed models they not only have no muffler, but hardly any exhaust stack. My son has been threatening to get a Dynajet pulse jet for control line speed competitions.  Those things run at about 150 decibels. The video is one on a back yard test stand.  Notice the guys wearing hearing protection.  If you have a Dynajet and do this at home, it will only be a matter of minutes before the police arrive  

          The general who wins the battle makes many calculations in his temple before the battle is fought. The general who loses makes but few calculations beforehand. - Sun Tzu

          by Otteray Scribe on Mon Jul 02, 2012 at 10:15:52 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  I wonder... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Otteray Scribe

        what an annual inspection for a MIG-21 costs? I also wonder how many people know how to work on one? I think the maintenance costs are going to make the purchase price look cheap! Even with the spare engine!!

        Never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by stupidity.

        by reflectionsv37 on Mon Jul 02, 2012 at 10:15:31 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I figure if you got out of an annual (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          reflectionsv37

          for less than two or three thousand, you will be doing good.  Also, think of the fuel burn, especially if you throttle up to combat cruise.  

           

          The general who wins the battle makes many calculations in his temple before the battle is fought. The general who loses makes but few calculations beforehand. - Sun Tzu

          by Otteray Scribe on Mon Jul 02, 2012 at 10:19:35 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  On the other hand (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          reflectionsv37

          the annual on that Storch will take about four hours at the most and probably will need no parts at all.  As an experimental kitplane you can do your own annual, and replace parts yourself.  

          The general who wins the battle makes many calculations in his temple before the battle is fought. The general who loses makes but few calculations beforehand. - Sun Tzu

          by Otteray Scribe on Mon Jul 02, 2012 at 10:21:21 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  I was at the hangar one day to work on one of (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          BlackSheep1, reflectionsv37

          the club sailplanes and noticed a P-51 in the back of the hangar. It belonged to an acquaintance of mine who owns a car dealership.  It was in for a top overhaul.  For the non-airminded, that means taking the cylinder heads off and doing a valve job.  Not much different than your car, but this is a 1.650 cubic inch V-12 Rolls Royce engine.  The thing turns up about 1.200 horsepower.  

          I asked the mechanic a few questions and learned a top overhaul on a RR Merlin was going to run the owner $25,000 and that did not include the rest of the annual.  That is one expensive toy to own.  

          The general who wins the battle makes many calculations in his temple before the battle is fought. The general who loses makes but few calculations beforehand. - Sun Tzu

          by Otteray Scribe on Mon Jul 02, 2012 at 10:35:11 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  What about crew qual? (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Otteray Scribe

          I'll bet there's only one or two people in the whole country qualified to give you a check ride in one of 'em!

          And there's probably only a handful of A&P Mechanics qualified to sign the plane off!

          I know the FAA is hell on wheels on all high-performance aircraft, including WWII warbirds....

          "Ronald Reagan is DEAD! His policies live on but we're doing something about THAT!"

          by leftykook on Tue Jul 03, 2012 at 08:29:55 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  leftykook: you'd be surprised (0+ / 0-)

            MiGs are a pretty hot commodity on the airshow circuit. A checkride in a -21 might be harder to find a fully operational 2-seat bird than a rated IP for.

            LBJ & Lady Bird, Sully Sullenberger, Molly Ivins, Barbara Jordan, Ann Richards, Drew Brees: Texas is No Bush League! -7.50,-5.59

            by BlackSheep1 on Tue Jul 03, 2012 at 09:19:18 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

      •  yeah, that so wouldn't suck (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Otteray Scribe

        wonder if it's harder to read Russian than Klingon?

        LBJ & Lady Bird, Sully Sullenberger, Molly Ivins, Barbara Jordan, Ann Richards, Drew Brees: Texas is No Bush League! -7.50,-5.59

        by BlackSheep1 on Mon Jul 02, 2012 at 10:56:47 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Firefighting C-130s (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Otteray Scribe

    not doing so well, unfortunately

    Government and laws are the agreement we all make to secure everyone's freedom.

    by Simplify on Mon Jul 02, 2012 at 11:53:55 PM PDT

  •  A REAL flying car... (0+ / 0-)

    Apparently dreamed up by missionaries to help get into the back country in rugged parts of the world....

    The Maverick can be configured and launched by one person without help.  

    It's faster on the ground than in the air!

    "Ronald Reagan is DEAD! His policies live on but we're doing something about THAT!"

    by leftykook on Tue Jul 03, 2012 at 08:24:04 AM PDT

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site