The MIT Flying Car Flies

Terrafugia, the MIT spinoff company, has successfully conducted the first flight of its flying car (a.k.a. “roadable aircraft”).  The photo of the Cessna 172 and Transition in formation is my favorite.

Visit http://www.terrafugia.com/photogallery.html

6 Comments

  1. Brian

    March 18, 2009 @ 12:29 pm

    1

    Looks like it would make a bad car and a bad aircraft… can someone explain why this is useful? Our current light aircraft barely seem airworthy on their own, without throwing in irrelevant design compromises for the road…

  2. philg

    March 18, 2009 @ 12:54 pm

    2

    Brian: I don’t think they are planning to overtake the Chevy Malibu in the “most cost-effective transportation” category. They want to sell a few hundred per year to people who want a flying car. I think it would be useful for people who have vacation houses in remote areas. Every house is near a small airport, but not every house is near a full-service airport with loaner/rental cars. Anyway, if you’re looking for value, I think a $20,000 Piper Cherokee and an $8,000 Chevy Malibu bought used from Avis would be hard to beat. But you wouldn’t have a flying car!

  3. Brian

    March 18, 2009 @ 1:00 pm

    3

    I guess that’s pretty reasonable, although I would still be very worried about dinging something important on the plane if I was driving it around. Maybe a C-130 and a Jeep for the real rugged vacationer? =)

  4. philg

    March 18, 2009 @ 1:11 pm

    4

    Mostly it is the cool factor, just like that fancy new seaplane (http://www.iconaircraft.com/ — hope that they aren’t a casualty of the collapse). You drive out of your garage on a nice day, take off from a small runway 4 miles away, fly for 45 minutes, land and drive to an art museum or restaurant, and then fly back. Will definitely save a lot of money compared to hangaring at an airport, but really who buys a light aircraft except to have fun?

  5. J. Peterson

    March 18, 2009 @ 5:40 pm

    5

    Hmm. I wonder what happened to the left front wheel fairing?

  6. Colin Summers

    March 19, 2009 @ 5:27 pm

    6

    I love the idea. I am a little worried about driving a $200k car on any roads near the airports where I would want to fly this. Right now I land a DA-40 at a tiny strip near Parry Sound, Ontario. I get a rental car there and drive on some (bad) Canadian roads, then some gravel, then some dirt roads. Would I want to bounce along in a $200k vehicle that is later meant to be airworthy to keep me alive at 9,000ft? I don’t think so. And I would need to dump my current plane, which seats four.

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