The dream of a machine that is equally at home in the air and on the road dates back almost a century to Glenn Curtiss’s 1917 Autoplane. A great dream, but hard to realize – the contraptions were either not really roadworthy or not really airworthy, or both. And they looked it, too.
But if looks indicate quality at all, Terrafugia‘s Transition Roadable Aircraft may finally do the trick. The Transition is a proof-of-concept two-seater that can hit 115 mph in the air and 65 on the road. It is driven by a pusher prop in the air and rear-wheel drive on the ground. Being only 6’9″ tall and 80″ wide, it fits into an ordinary garage. As with Navy aircraft, the wings fold by means of an electromechanical mechanism: no need to get your hands dirty. There is a full-vehicle parachute option. The Transition even has sufficient cargo space for carry-on luggage and golf clubs (no joke – so says the website).
Best of all, a valid driver’s license and only about 20 hours of flight training will make this space-age vehicle yours. In other words, to lapse into Terrafugia’s unfortunate gobbledygook, “Now you can streamline your flying experience with the revolutionary integration of personal land and air travel made possible by the Transition® Roadable Aircraft.”
So, if you really want to streamline your flying experience with the revolutionary integration of personal land and air travel (whew!), the Transition will be available in 2012.