Terrafugia flyng cars: The company said Monday that its flying car has completed its first test flight. The Terrafugia flying cars will be unveiled at the New York Auto show this week.
Flying cars aren't just science fiction anymore.
Woburn, Mass.-based Terrafugia Inc. said Monday that its prototype flying car has completed its first flight, bringing the company closer to its goal of selling the flying car within the next year. The vehicle — dubbed the Transition — has two seats, four wheels and wings that fold up so it can be driven like a car. Last month, it flew at 1,400 feet (426 meters) for eight minutes. Commercial jets fly at 35,000 feet (10.668 meters).
Around 100 people have already put down a $10,000 deposit to get a Transition when they go on sale, and those numbers will likely rise after Terrafugia introduces the Transition to the public later this week at the New York Auto Show. But don't expect it to show up in too many driveways. It's expected to cost $279,000.
And it won't help if you're stuck in traffic. The car needs a runway.
The flying car has always had a special place in the American imagination. Inventors have been trying to make them since the 1930s, according to Robert Mann, an airline industry analyst who owns R.W. Mann & Co. in Port Washington, New York.
But Mann thinks Terrafugia has come closer than anyone to making the flying car a reality. The government has already granted the company's request to use special tires and glass that are lighter than normal automotive ones, to make it easier for the vehicle to fly. The government has also temporarily exempted the Transition from the requirement to equip vehicles with electronic stability control, which would add about six pounds (2.72 kilograms) to the vehicle. The Transition is currently going through a battery of automotive crash tests to make sure it meets federal safety standards.