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Terrafugia: The flying car flies again

A flight and a drive to local airport mark further progress toward planned availability next year of the Transition, a street-legal personal airplane.

Terrafugia's Transition can drive on roads and fly on unleaded gasoline.
Terrafugia's Transition can drive on roads and fly on unleaded gasoline.

Well-heeled travelers tired of airport lines have some good news today from Terrafugia.

The maker of the Transition flying car said that a production prototype, the D2, made its first flight earlier in March, a step toward what it hopes will be commercial availability within the next year. Company engineers took the Transition for an eight-minute flight around Plattsburgh International Airport in Plattsburgh, N.Y.

The Transition is two-seat personal aircraft that is legal to drive on streets and highways and that runs, both in the air and on the road, on unleaded gasoline. The wings fold up to make the plane about six feet tall, seven and a half feet wide, and 19 feet long when driving.

Vehicles like Terrafugia's would open up an entirely new mode of transportation, letting people drive from their homes to a local airport, fly to another airport, and then drive to the final destination.

The land-air vehicle will be on display this week at the New York International Auto Show.

This production prototype program, which includes two planes, is part of the testing that Terrafugia's doing to prepare for manufacturing. The first flight of the Transition was in 2009 which can be seen in the video below.

People can place a $10,000 deposit for the Transition, which the company expects to sell for $279,000. The company received an exemption from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) for a "roadable aircraft." It gets 35 miles per gallon mileage when driving.