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Terrafugia flying car certified legal for flight

US FAA gives green light to Transition roadable airplane after flight tests

The Transition is a flying car that can legally take to the skies. PHOTO FROM TERRAFUGIA

With several automakers already investing in technologies such as autonomous driving and air taxis, it seems like the idea of a flying car will ultimately be an impractical fantasy. However, there are some who believe that there is a future for a vehicle that is just as comfortable on the road as it is in the air. Terrafugia appears to be in that line of thought as its flying-car project has just been given the legal green light to take to the skies.

After an extensive flight-test program, the US Federal Aviation Administration has awarded the Transition flying car an airworthiness certificate in the Special Light-Sport Aircraft category. SLSA rules state that aircraft must have only one engine, fixed landing gear, two seats at most, a maximum weight of 599kg, and a maximum speed of 222km/h in level flight. It must also be flown by a pilot holding a valid light-sport license.

See how the Transition transforms from car to plane. PHOTOS FROM TERRAFUGIA

In the air, the Transition is powered by a 100hp Rotax 912iS four-cylinder that can push it to a never-exceed speed of 161km/h. Its Dynon Skyview avionics allow the pilot to see through low visibility, and it’s equipped with an airframe parachute in case of emergencies. In its road-going form, the Transition gets by with hybrid-electric drive motors, and the rigid cabin is said to meet automotive safety standards.

Speaking of safety standards, Geely-owned Terrafugia hopes to get the Transition’s NHTSA certification next. The company plans to initially sell flight-only examples to eager clients, and is aiming to have its flying car deemed safe and legal for both the road and the sky by 2022.

Miggi Solidum

Professionally speaking, Miggi is a software engineering dude who happens to like cars a lot. And as an automotive enthusiast, he wants a platform from which he can share his motoring thoughts with fellow petrolheads. He pens the column ‘G-Force’.