x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

New flying car set for takeoff

The Terrafugia Transition, a light aircraft that can convert into an automobile, will soon go into production. The vehicle has received a unique exemption from the US government that allows the production models to be 50kg heavier than a normal "light sport aircraft". Manufacturers could not fit in safety features, such as air bags and crumple zones, within the 600kg weight limit. The exemption will make it easier and cheaper to get a licence - a US light sport pilot's permit only requires 20 hours of flying time. The two-seat vehicle uses its front-wheel drive on roads at ordinary highway speeds. But once it arrives at an adequate take-off spot, it can extend its wings, take off and glide through the sky at 180kph. Power for both land and air comes from a 100hp engine. The vehicle can fly for 700km and carry 200kg. It fits into a standard-sized garage. The Transition has undergone development by startup firm Terrafugia, which was founded in 2006. According to the company, 70 people have ordered the Transition, which retails for $194,000 (Dh712,000) and will be delivered by the end of next year.