Tue, Apr 03, 2012
Company Says Its 'Flying Car' Is One Step Closer To First Delivery
The Transition Street-Legal Airplane is now a significant step closer to being a commercial reality, according to Terrafugia, the company producing the roadable S-LSA. The production prototype of the Transition Street-Legal Airplane completed its successful first flight at Plattsburgh International Airport in Plattsburgh, NY on March 23, 2012. The same vehicle has also successfully conducted initial drive and conversion testing, demonstrating the Transition's capability to provide unmatched freedom, flexibility and fun in personal aviation. Developed by Terrafugia, Inc., the Transition is a two seat personal aircraft capable of driving on roads and highways, parking in a single car garage, and flying with unleaded automotive fuel.
"The successful first flight of this Production Prototype Transition marks a critical move toward initial production and first delivery," said COO Anna Mracek Dietrich. The Production Prototype phase of the Transition program follows Proof of Concept work which included a flying, driving Proof of Concept vehicle and was completed in 2009. The Production Prototype program includes two vehicles and is being used to develop and inform the manufacturing tool-up and compliance program necessary to begin commercial deliveries. Terrafugia says it will continue its testing program in preparation for first delivery, which is expected to occur within the next year.
"The first flight of the Transition Production Prototype is a major milestone for Terrafugia," said Terrafugia CEO/CTO and co-founder Carl Dietrich. "With this flight, the team demonstrated an ability to accomplish what had been called an impossible dream. We look forward to continuing to show that the challenges of bringing a practical street legal airplane to market can be overcome. This is a very exciting time for Terrafugia. We are on our way up - literally and figuratively!"
The Transition's first flight reached an altitude of 1400' above the ground and lasted eight minutes while staying in the vicinity of Plattsburgh International Airport. It demonstrated the controllability and safe operational characteristics of the aircraft. Six phases of flight testing are planned to continue development and demonstrate compliance to the Light Sport Aircraft standards.
"It's a remarkable vehicle both on the road and, now, in the air," said Terrafugia Chief Test Pilot Phil Meteer. "When I drove it into the shop, literally from the road through the garage door, I was amazed that I had just flown it at Plattsburgh a few days before. A long-overdue mode of transportation and fun is just around the corner. I can't wait for the upcoming flight tests and the chance to 'wring it out', demonstrating how safe and enjoyable the Transition is to fly."
The Transition Production Prototype will be on display at the New York International Auto Show April 6-15th at the Jacob Javits Convention Center in New York City. (Stock images of earlier Transition flight provided by Terrafugia)
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