# It's a car! No - it's a plane!

#### Astronuc

Staff Emeritus
Forget flying cars. Meet the drivable plane.

A Massachusetts startup is building the Transition, a two-seat aircraft that, with the press of a button, is ready to rule the road.

(Business 2.0 Magazine) -- Carl Dietrich was born long after the Jetsons first flew from the Skypad Apartments to Spacely Sprockets, but that won't stop him from trying to turn us into a nation of Georges and Janes - albeit ones with standard two-car garages.

The 29-year-old aeronautics Ph.D. candidate at MIT is also CEO of Terrafugia (from the Latin for "escape the earth"), a Somerville, Mass., startup building the Transition, which Dietrich says is not so much a flying car as a "roadable aircraft." That is, a two-seater plane with fold-up wings that you drive home at the end of your flight.

The design won Dietrich the prestigious $30,000 Lemelson-MIT Student Prize in February. But Terrafugia is no dorm startup: The company is in talks to raise$2 million to $3 million and has hired two McDonnell-Douglas veterans in its quest to build a drivable prototype by 2008. Ready for take-off, but where? They aim to get the first Transitions to market by the following year, at a retail price of$148,000. The plane is tailor-made, Dietrich says, for the neglected "short-hop market" of 100- to 500-mile jaunts - a market that's only going to grow as airlines abandon low-margin short routes.
http://www.terrafugia.com/

Maybe not as exotic as the jet-man, but pretty cool - and enclosed.

Flying to work - and then driving would be fun.

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#### Hurkyl

Staff Emeritus
Gold Member
Bah, nobody on the road pays attention to traffic laws as it is... and you want them the power to fly?

#### neutrino

Bah, nobody on the road pays attention to traffic laws as it is... and you want them the power to fly?
Once they are in air, the road becomes a much safer place (unless one of those flying-machines happens to fall on your car )

#### Ivan Seeking

Staff Emeritus
Gold Member
Watch out for CEOs FUI.

#### Kurdt

Staff Emeritus
Gold Member
Theres only 8 years to go then we'll all be driving cars like those in back to the future. We also have 8 years in which to enjoy 16 new jaws movies

Its not particularly stylish and I'm not sure what market they're aiming for frankly, unless its for people who wish to drive to the airport to take off in their small plane.

#### FredGarvin

Two operative words in that by line...Startup company. Start ups have an enormously difficult time getting a regular aircraft to market let alone something like this. While they'll probably suck off the government under the guise of programs like NASA's GAP program, I'll bet my next paycheck that this company is gone in a year. I must say that it is a lot more stylish and up to date than the aerocar.

#### turbo

Gold Member
It's neat idea, but making that vehicle comply with auto-safety rules while getting it certified as safe to fly will be fraught with interesting twists. One problem regarding road-worthiness is the very small wheels shown in the prototype animation. Highway speeds with small wheels absolutely kill wheel bearings, plus the vehicle will have to be very light in order to fly, making it impossible to handle on the highway with crosswinds. Those folded-up wings would offer crosswinds a LOT of leverage. I'm not trying to be a stick-in-the-mud, but this PhD candidate seems to be ignoring some basic applied engineering problems.

#### interested_learner

They did the same thing in the fifties. There were too many compromises that had to be made. That made the whole project too expensive.

#### Astronuc

Staff Emeritus
Did anyone check the specs - http://www.terrafugia.com/specsheet.pdf [Broken]

I imagine it must pass automobile and aircraft certification.

I don't imagine that it would do much on the highway since one would presumably be flying rather than driving at highway speeds.

1500 ft takeoff distance (so its STOL maybe).

Perhaps he could adapt it to water too! Air - land - sea! :tongue2:

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Staff Emeritus