First flying car put on show | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, April 10, 2012 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, April 10, 2012

First flying car put on show


The car-plane Transition at the 2012 New York International Auto Show. Inset, test flight of a street-legal airplane.Photo: AFP

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US company Terrafugia has put on display a prototype car that is licensed to fly as well as drive, at the New York International Auto Show.
It is the first vehicle in the world to have met both the standards of the FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) and the NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration), according to Cliff Allen, Vice President of Sales at Terrafugia.
This makes it the first "street legal aeroplane", he said.
Known as the Transition, the versatile vehicle has two seats, four wheels and retractable wings.
It is expected to be available next year, with a price tag in the region of $279,000 (£176,300).
The vehicle currently has an experimental certificate from the FAA, meaning the company has permission to fly it in US airspace for test purposes. The company hopes in time it will gain a light sport aircraft licence.
The hybrid vehicle completed its first successful test flight at Plattsburgh International Airport near Montreal in Canada last month.
A retired US Air Force test pilot took the maiden voyage - after volunteering his services.
Transition Transition completed a successful test flight on 23 March this year at Plattsburgh International Airport
"We are very fortunate to have found him," said Dr Samuel Schwegart, an engineer at Terrafugia working on the project.
The vehicle flew at 1,400 feet for eight minutes.
However, important details still need to be worked out from test data, including the stall speed of the aircraft.
There are significant design challenges marrying a roadworthy vehicle with a skyworthy one, according to Dr Schwegart.
The engineers also found that Transition needed more speed than anticipated on take-off, to generate the necessary lift for ascent.
A hard landing was also reported, but nothing of concern, according to Dr Schwegart.
"You can pull up at a regular gas station to fill it up", says Dr Schwegart. A full tank holds 23 gallons (87 litres) of fuel.
It requires Premium 91-octane fuel, and does 35 miles to the gallon (6.7l/100km) on the road, and 28 mile (8.4l/100km) in the air.
Although Transition can be stored in a normal garage, it needs a 1,700-foot (520-metre) runway to take off.

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