Visitors to this year's Oshkosh extravaganza were provided an update on the progress of the Transition Roadable Aircraft, or "Flying Car" and the unveiling of a scalable model of the Beta Prototype (stage 2) next generation design.
New design features include:
Automotive-style crash safety features, including an energy absorbing crush structure in the nose of the vehicle and rigid safety cage.
A customized, intuitive touch-screen interface to the cockpit.
Improved airfoil design and wing folding-mechanism.
Changes to the empennage to improve engine efficiency.
Rear-wheel drive with a continuously variable transmission (CVT).
The aircraft will remain configured for two passengers and Dr. Dietrich estimates fuel consumption to average 5 gallons per hour. When asked about the potential for an all electric version of the Transition, Dr. Dietrich remarked that the weight issues associated with battery technology for aircraft were in the way of that option, but "who knows what's in the future?", said Dietrich.
Terrafugia began taking refundable deposits back in 2006, and as of Oshkosh 2010, reports having received about 80 orders. Terrafugia's initial estimate for a purchase price of $194,000 is being reconsidered, with more information to come at some future point. The Terrafugia management team credited the creation of the Light Sport Category of Aircraft as the catalyst to being able to develop a buildable and marketable LSA, capable of both flying and driving. Since it will be certified as a Light Sport Aircraft (LSA), the Transition will require at least a Sport Pilot license to fly and a valid driver's license for use on the ground.
Terrafugia (terra-Foo-gee-ah), based in Woburn, MA, was founded by five pilots who are award-winning graduates of MIT and supported by a world-class network of advisors, private investors, and as with most strong startups, is supported by a highly dedicated team of engineers and other professionals. Terrafugia's mission is the innovative expansion of personal mobility.
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