Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Off We Drive, Into The Wild Blue Yonder

Are you ready to fly the family car, just like the Jetsons? I remember reading about a new flying car that was in the design stage a year or so ago, the brainchild of some MIT students with a vision. At the time, from what I recall, it was a school project, but the grand thinkers involved thought that their baby could actually fly one day, literally. Well, now their idea's taking off it seems, and the result is a start-up company called Terrafugia, which is now taking orders for PAVs (personal air vehicles), to be delivered some time in 2009. The new vehicle is called the Transition, named for the fact it can change from a street-legal car to a two-seater airplane:

... the Transition drives like a car on public roads and can transition into an aircraft at the nearest airport by lowering its 27-foot wings and taking off. As an aircraft it has a top speed of 130mph, a range of 500 miles and can carry a payload of 430 pounds. One stop gives you over a thousand miles of range inside eight hours. Then you land and fold up the wings and you’re back on the road.
It'll cost you about $150k to purchase this new toy, with a 5% down-payment now for the privilege of landing on the waiting list. You'll get a vehicle that gets about 30 mpg by land or air, that can carry two people and their luggage. Follow this link to Gizmag to see what all that dough'll buy you, and be sure to enlarge the pictures. The fold-up wings are pretty interesting, although, judging from the drawings, they're going to cause one heck of a blind spot when the vehicle's in car mode. I wonder if they can make those out of transparent aluminum to enhance the field of vision?

Hat tip: Futurismic