Terrafugia Flying Car is Fast as a Porsche — At Stopping
23 January 2013 - Wall Street Journal
Terrafugia Inc., makers of the Transition flying car, said the long testing process required for Federal Aviation Administration certification is going well, but not necessarily quickly. The vehicle, which can be driven on the road, has folding wings, control surfaces, instruments and a propeller that allow it to fly like other light, general aviation aircraft.
The company said a number of small problems have slowed its test program, but the snags are minor and not unusual for a new aircraft in development. Tests have also revealed areas where the Transition excels, such as braking. The company said the flying car, or roadable aircraft, stopped from a speed of 60 mph in 110 feet on dry pavement. That puts it in the running with top sports cars like the Porsche Carerra and Cayman.
Terrafugia attributed the vehicle’s braking performance to its light weight, four-wheel disc brakes and grippy tires. The Transition weighs less than 1,000 pounds empty and eve at its maximum takeoff weight of 1,430 pounds it weighs less than half as much as the Porsches.
“It handles really well – especially considering it’s an airplane. It’s fun to drive!” said Andrew Heafitz, vice president of engineering for the Woburn, Mass., company.
Terrafugia said it would also consider building another prototype before certification, depending on the number and magnitude of modifications engineers wind up making to the current vehicle as testing continues. The company has also stopped talking about when it will begin deliveries to customers — something it was planning at one point to do more than a year ago.
The expected sticker price for the Transition is $279,000. Last year the order backlog passed the 100-customer mark and “now represents approximately $30 million of product,” the company said.