Look! Up in the air! A real-life $279,000 flying car (pictures)

Touted for years, Terrafugia's long-awaited flying car offered its first public performance on Wednesday at the EAA AirVenture air show in OshKosh, Wis. And CNET Road Trip has proof that it's for real.

Daniel Terdiman
1 of 12 Daniel Terdiman/CNET

Wings up

OSHKOSH, Wis. -- Who doesn't want to see a flying car?

Though it has been talked about for years and has even been seen at car shows and via online videos, Terrafugia's flying car had never been seen in the air in public before. That is until Wednesday, when it made its public flying debut at the EAA AirVenture air show in OshKosh.

As part of Road Trip 2013, CNET's Daniel Terdiman got a chance to see the flying car actually fly. And then drive away.

2 of 12 Daniel Terdiman/CNET

Taking off

Here is Terrafugia's promotional blurb for its $279,000 hybrid:

"The Transition is the transportation of the future today. A street-legal airplane that converts between flying and driving modes in under a minute, the Transition brings a new level of freedom, flexibility, and fun to personal aviation.

"It gives the pilot the option to land and drive in bad weather, provides integrated ground transportation on both ends of the flight, and fits in a standard single car garage at home. The Transition can fly in and out of over 5,000 public airports in the U.S. and is legal to drive on public roads and highways.

"It is the only light aircraft designed to meet Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards, and it is also equipped with a full-vehicle parachute for additional safety."

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Wings down

The Transition sits along the flight line at OshKosh, preparing for its demonstration flight. Its wings unfolded, as they must be for flying.

The plane has a top speed of about 100 miles an hour, and has a range of about 410 miles. It gets about five gallons per hour in the sky, and 35 miles per gallon on the highway.

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Catching some rays

As the Transition flies above the crowd of thousands at sunset, it catches a few last rays of the gorgeous Wisconsin sun.

The Transition features automated electromechanical folding, rear wheel drive on the road, and automotive style entry, exit, and seating. It doesn't need a hangar since it can fit in a standard house garage. It also has both a steering wheel and stick and rudders.

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Straight on

The Transition flies directly toward the AirVenture air show crowd.

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Right side in the air

The Transition is seen in the air with its right side to the crowd.

The flying car can be driven to a location if it can't fly because of inclement weather, and has a 100 hp Rotax 912iS engine. It also features a vehicle parachute, and modern glass avionics, Terrafugia says, as well as standard automotive crash safety features including driver and passenger air bags.

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Banking to right

The Transition is seen banking to the right at the EAA AirVentures air show in OshKosh, Wis.

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A look at the underside of the Transition as it soars overhead at the air show.

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Taxiing in after landing

After completing its public performance, the Transition taxis in from the air strip.

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Front wings down

Taxiing in, the Transition's wings are still down.

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Folded wings

Ready to drive, the flying car's wings are automatically folded up at the push of a button.

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Driving away

Just minutes after landing, the Transition is street-legal and driving away.

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