Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Driven To Fly - Short Cut

Yesterday here at Car Lust, the question was raised, "Where is my flying car?" Well, while at the New York International Auto Show last year, I saw an amazing something that wasn't solar/electric or satin-finished. It didn't have self parking or a V-12. It was, truly, a flying car.
Now it wasn't quite as convenient as George Jetson's "Pop into a briefcase" machine, though it did fold up. And it does seem to have merit. After all, it was in the Jacob J. Javits Center, right?

The Terrafusia Transition is the first street legal flying vehicle to pass NHTSA regulations, and the FAA gave the craft permission to fly in 2010, certifying it to be flown as a Light Sports Aircraft. So there, we have now officially arrived in the 21st Century.
But before you go up into the wild blue yonder, to drive, I mean fly, er... operate this machine, you'll need a driver's license, a sport pilot's license, license plates, car registration, aircraft certification, tons of insurance, a full tank of gas, an H.E.R.E.*, and a lot of nerve. After all, one needs to know about transponders, wing tip vortices, artificial horizons, and other day-to-day thingamajigs just to get this vehicle off the ground.
In addition to all of that, you'll also need to know when it's running "A little hot."

Terrafugia, which is Latin for “escape from the land," has designed the Transition to fly at a top speed of 115 miles per hour (air speed). 1,430 pounds is its maximum takeoff weight, and it can cruise at 10,000 feet; its range is about 460 miles, roughly 5 times that of the Nissan Leaf.
The Transition has been described as an airplane that can drive on the road. That's fair. But it's also going to have automotive safety equipment such as bumpers and airbags.
And options include a radio, GPS, the aforementioned transponder, and a parachute. The last time I saw a parachute in a car was on The Batmobile, though I doubt you'll be doing many Bat-turns in this thing.
Boarding fee of the Transition is $279,000, with a deposit of $10,000 due up front. It's a 2-seater, but I don't know if the cabin is Smoking or Non-Smoking. Delivery is expected in 2015, and about a hundred people have signed up so far. Many of them live in Florida.
Here's a well-edited one-minute video that shows how The Transition works:
And after the Transition soars, more is coming from Terrafugia.

The Future of The Future:

Now is it me, or does this craft bear more than just a striking resemblance to USS Enterprise NCC-1701? I see nacelles, a lower hull, and the helm looks to be in about the same place as well.
Too bad there's no photon torpedoes for those folks that just don't need to be driving today. I wish it had some shields as well.
But this is not a high school study hall drawing. It's real. Or at least it's about to be.
Behold the Terrafugia TF-X™. It is, according to their words, "A four-seat, plug-in hybrid electric flying car with fly-by-wire vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) capabilities, TF-X™ is designed to bring personal aviation to the world. The design will make use of the high power density and reliability of modern electric motors in combination with parallel power and control system architectures to achieve a higher level of safety than modern automobiles. TF-X™ will provide true door-to-door transportation combined with the freedom of vertical takeoff and landing -- creating a new dimension of personal mobility."
It also looks cool as heck. Imagine the look on your neighbor's face when he shows off his new appliance-ish Camry, then you pull the TF-X out of your garage, I mean hanger, um... storage building thingy.
So the flying car Cookie wishes for is almost here. Look out George Jetson, we're about to catch up with you.
Now, about that apartment approved electronic dog...
--That (Flying) Car Guy (Chuck)
Image Credits: The first picture of the Terrafugia is mine; the rest came from the Terrafugia site. Some technical information about the Terrafugias was found at the AutomotiveInfoBlog.com.
*Human Endurance Range Extender. You probably don't want to ask.

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