At an airshow in Wisconsin, US, transforming flying car Terrafugia Transition took to the sky in its first 10-minute public demo flight.
Believe it or not, the very first flying car came not long after human flight, way back in 1971. It was made by Glenn Curtiss, a rival of the Wright Brothers. His Curtiss Autoplane didn't quite get there, though; the best it could manage was a hop. In fact, the history of the flying car is, for some reason, full of concepts and prototypes that never quite got there.
That looks like it might be about to change. Since 2006, Massachusetts company Terrafugia has been developing a transforming flying car, with help from DARPA funding, and the vehicle has just taken its very first public flight.
At the EAA Airventure show in Oshkosh, Winsconsin, the Terrafugia Transition soared into the air, after eight years of being displayed on the ground at the show.
When on the ground, the road-legal two-seater car keeps its wings folded on either side of its body, unfolding them to fly, a transition that takes less than a minute. It has a range of 660 kilometres in the air, plus a 30-minute fuel reserve, and a cruise flight speed of 160 kilometres per hour that burns 19 litres of fuel per hour. On the ground, it has a top speed of 105 kilometres per hour. And it can take simple, unleaded petrol in its 91-litre tank.
At the Airventure show, the Terrafugia Transition took to the air for 10 minutes, circling the field before smoothly returning to the runway, folding up its wings and driving back.
At this point, the Transition is still in development — the vehicle on show at Airventure is the second in a series of three prototypes, with an expected release date of 2015 or 2016. It's projected to cost around US$279,000, and the company is currently taking fully refundable US$10,000 deposits.
We'd like to say we'll be impressed when they make it a submarine as well, but we can't even pretend. That's pretty danged impressive. Check it out in action in the video below, and head over to the Terrafugia website for more information.