Skip to main content

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. 

Related Videos

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.

Editors' Recommendations

Lucid Air beta prototype shows 1,000-hp, 400-mile, electric car isn’t dead yet
lucid air electric car beta prototype

In 2016, Lucid Motors burst onto the scene with the Air, an electric luxury car boasting a claimed range of up to 400 miles, and a top speed of over 200 mph. Then the company went dark. Despite initially claiming that the Air was nearly ready for production, little has been heard from Lucid since. But the project is apparently still alive, as Lucid just unveiled what it calls a "beta prototype."

The prototype is 95% representative of what the production model will be, according to a Lucid blog post. The company plans to build a fleet of 80 of these prototypes, which will be used to fine tune specifications ahead of the start of production. While production models will be built at a new factory in Casa Grande, Arizona, beta prototypes are built at the company's headquarters in Silicon Valley.

Read more
Flyboard Air inventor plans to unveil 250-mph flying sports car by 2020
flyboard air inventor plans daring 20 mile flight over water this week franky zapata

After winning jet-ski competitions all over the world and boldly flying across the English Channel on a hoverboard he designed and built, inventor Franky Zapata wants to land in the automotive industry by pioneering the flying sports car segment. It sounds like a pipe dream or a cool movie prop at best, but the 40-year-old Frenchman is already testing prototypes, and he plans to unveil his wildest creation yet in the coming months.

"I need to finish building my flying car, I need to introduce it before the end of the year. I'm going to go home, take a little vacation, and then -- with the help of my team -- work on it nonstop to make sure it's ready in time," Zapata told French news station BFM TV after successfully crossing the English Channel on his Flyboard Air hoverboard.

Read more
The first flying car skyport is under construction on a rooftop in Miami
flying car skyport under construction in miami first florida 100699827 h


Future residents of Paramount Miami World Center, a 600-unit condominium building now under construction, may be the first in the world with a private skyport for their use, television station WSVN reports.

Read more