The production prototype of Terrafugia’s Transition flying car has completed the first phase of its flight test programme.
Phase 1 flight testing, conducted at Plattsburgh International Airport, in Plattsburgh, New York, allowed Terrafugia to check off many critical early testing objectives for the Transition programme.
“It’s a real airplane; we’re flying it whenever we want, for as long as we want,” says Terrafugia CEO Carl Dietrich.
Test items accomplished include power-on and power-off handling, aircraft stability, engine cooling evaluation, and propeller setting optimisation in various flight conditions.
Five more flight test phases are planned.
The production prototype is now moving into drive testing to explore the ground drive-train’s abilities, suspension tuning, braking performance and road handling.
“We have great momentum going in our testing programme,” says Terrafugia COO Anna Mracek Dietrich.
“Our top priority this [US] summer is flight and drive-testing, in anticipation of certifying compliance with the Light Sport Aircraft and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration standards.”
Terrafugia was founded by five pilots who graduated from the well-known Massachusetts Institute of Technology, in the US.
Terrafugia is Latin for ‘escape from land’.
In 2009, the company completed the first successful test flight of its two-seater car that becomes a plane that becomes a car again.
When driving, the wings fold up, and when the driver wants to take to the sky, the wings can unfold in under 30 seconds.
In driving mode, the vehicle is 2 m high, 2.3 m wide and 6 m long. When flying, only the width changes as the wings unfold, expanding to 8 m.
Terrafugia says roughly 100 aircraft have been reserved to date, representing an order backlog of more than $25-million.
Refundable airframe reservations are currently being accepted to hold a place in production.
The company says it is marketing the Transition to pilots and to people willing to become pilots.
“All sorts of people have placed reservations, from retired couples planning to travel, to independent business people with clients spread over a large geographic area.”
The anticipated base purchase price for the flying car is $279 000.