Cleared for take-off: £132,000 flying car given the go-ahead by aviation chiefsBy Ray Massey
Last updated at 9:20 PM on 6th July 2010
It was designed to soar above traffic jams, but had been grounded by paperwork.
Now, finally, the flying car has been officially cleared to take to the skies.
The sticking point had been the weight of the Terrafugia Transition - it was 110lb over the limit for light aircraft.
Though not the world's first flying car, its makers say it is the first to have wings that fold up automatically at the push of a button.
There have already been 70 customers who have paid a £6,500 deposit for the vehicle, which costs
£132,000 - about the same as a Bentley or Ferrari supercar.
But Terrafugia vice chairman Richard Gersh points out that for the money it gives you a great 'wow factor'.
He said: 'Anybody can buy a Ferrari. But Ferraris don't fly.'
As well as needing a healthy bank balance, owners of the Terrafugia Transition will require plenty of space - 1,700ft of uncluttered road is needed for take-off.
The Terrafugia Transition will enable drivers to lift off from almost any long straight road, traffic permitting
The 19ft long car can reach 65mph on the road but can fly at speeds of up to 115mph and has a range of up to 500 miles in the air.
Powered by a 100-horse-power four- stroke engine - about the same as Ford Fiesta - it can switch from being a two-seater road car to a plane at the touch of a button in under 30 seconds.
In car mode it has a steering wheel, accelerator and brake pedals, but no gearstick. As a plane, it is controlled with a joystick near the steering wheel.
As it will be certified as a Light Sport Aircraft, the Transition will require a pilot's licence to be flown - and of course a valid driver's licence for use on the ground. Carl Dietrich, Terrafugia chief executive, said: 'This breakthrough changes the world of personal mobility.'
Colonel Phil Meteer, who carried out its first test flight last year, said: 'It's a real smooth stable vehicle on the runway. It comes up smoothly into the air. It's just rock solid.'
The company said the first planes would be delivered to customers in autumn of next year.
The Transition still needs to be washed every Sunday