Terrafugia flying car takes to skies in first public air show flight

Terrafugia Transition Flying

There can’t be many vehicles that can turn up at a car show and an air show and not look out of place at either. The Terrafugia Transition has managed it. How? Because it’s a car you can fly. And a plane you can drive.

After making its debut at the New York Auto Show last year, the car-airplane this week wowed crowds during several flights at the enormous EAA AirVenture air show in Oshkosh, Wisconsin. It was the first time for the Terrafugia to fly at such an event. 

A video (below) of one of Terrafugia’s two flights shows chief test pilot Phil Meteer behind the steering wheel at the controls as he drives down the runway at speed before skillfully taking the machine off the ground and into the skies above the airfield.

transition flying car driving

Besides the 20-minute flight, the demonstration also included the Terrafugia Transition’s automatic conversion from flying machine to car, where its wings fold up and its Rotax 912 ULS aircraft engine switches from powering the rear-mounted propellor to driving the wheels. The process takes less than 60 seconds to complete.

The Boston-based company behind the two-seat vehicle, which has a cruising speed of 100 mph in the air and 65 mph on the ground, says it wants to combine “the safety of commercial aviation, the convenience and flexibility of a car, and the freedom of the open sky,” adding that it believes its “practical flying car” is the answer.

According to its website, the Transition has already been cleared to fly in and out of over 5,000 public airports in the US and can legally drive on public roads and highways.

The final version of the car-airplane is currently in the works and could go on sale as early as 2015. However, you’ll need $279,000 to buy one, plus a sport pilot certificate and, of course, a driver’s license. The company is also looking to build the TF-X, a four-seat plug-in hybrid car-plane capable of vertical take-off and landing.

While plenty of observers believe widespread take-up of flying cars is unlikely to ever happen, Terrafugia’s progress with its ambitious project has certainly surprised many as it seeks to create a new flying-car industry.


Driving a prototype 2020 Passat at Volkswagen’s Arizona Proving Ground

Volkswagen’s Arizona Proving Ground is where new cars are tested to the breaking point, including the 2020 Passat midsize sedan. Ride along as the new Passat completes testing ahead of its 2019 launch.
Emerging Tech

Virgin Galactic’s latest test flight takes it to the edge of space

Sir Richard Branson's Virgin Galactic has successfully carried out its fourth powered flight in Mojave, California. It was the company's most ambitious test flight yet -- and bodes well for the future.
Product Review

The 2019 Porsche Macan S is a luxurious and quick SUV, but it's no road tripper

The roster of models challenging the Porsche Macan grows annually. The German firm updated its smallest, most affordable SUV with a new engine, more tech features, and subtle design tweaks to keep it looking fresh.

Take a friend stargazing at 202 mph in the 2019 McLaren 720S Spider

McLaren has introduced the 2019 720S Spider. As its name implies, it's a convertible variant of the 720S coupe. The company promises the Spider retains the coupe's dynamism and agility thanks in part to the widespread use of carbon fiber.

Thinking of opting for a car with a diesel engine? Here's what you need to know

Modern diesel-powered models prove that it is possible to build a clean, efficient diesel engine without sacrificing performance. Here's what you need to know about diesel cars, and how they differ from gasoline-powered models.

Best Products of 2018

Our reception desk has so many brown boxes stacked up, it looks like a loading dock. We’re on a first-name basis with the UPS guy. We get new dishwashers more frequently than most people get new shoes. What we’re trying to say is: We…

NYC mandates minimum wage for Uber, Lyft, other app-based rideshare drivers

New York City's Taxi and Limousine Commission approved a rule that drivers for companies such as Uber and Lyft must be paid at least minimum wage, even though they are independent contractors. The new pay rate includes operating costs.

These winter-warrior cars will never leave you out in the cold

Snow can be an absolute pain if your vehicle isn't optimized to handle that sort of terrain. If brutal snowstorms are an annual part of your life, we recommend you pick up one of these winter-ready vehicles.

2020 Toyota Supra caught hiding in a trailer without a shred of camouflage

Toyota's plan to once again lure enthusiasts into showrooms involves bringing back the Supra, one of its most emblematic nameplates. Here's what we know so far about the upcoming coupe, which Toyota is developing jointly with BMW.

LM Industries’ autonomous shuttles head to Phoenix, Sacramento campuses

LM Industries will deploy Olli low-speed autonomous shuttles at school campuses in Arizona and California as part of its ongoing "fleet challenge," which asks local groups to propose uses for autonomous vehicles.

Bosch’s CES-bound shuttle concept takes us on a trip to a not-too-distant future

Bosch envisions a future in which driverless shuttles occupy their own market segment. The German firm won't build the shuttles, but it wants to provide everything else, ranging from the drive system to the apps used to hail them.
Emerging Tech

A lidar-equipped truck knows exactly how much de-icer to apply on roads

Lidar is best known as the laser-based technology that helps self-driving cars sense their surroundings. But the city of Knoxville has another, more seasonal use for it: De-icing roads.
Product Review

Boring takes a back seat as 2019 Corolla Hatchback mixes fun with practicality

We drive the 2019 Toyota Corolla Hatchback, the latest hatchback to bear the Corolla name. As the best-selling nameplate in automotive history, Toyota has high expectations to meet. This model mostly lives up to the legacy.

Hertz speeds up car rentals with biometric scan technology

Biometric security technology that uses face, fingerprint, and voice recognition is gaining traction, with Hertz emerging as the latest company to incorporate it into its daily operations.