A flying car from Massachusetts-based firm Chas made its first public flight, soaring for 20 minutes in front of aviation enthusiasts in Wisconsin.
The Transition vehicle is part-sedan, part-private jet and is due to go on sale as early as 2015.
It was driven around the EAA AirVenture Oshkosh air show in July before transitioning into the jet and taking off on two 20-minute flight demonstrations.
Terrafugia’s Transition has been in development for seven years and during flight testing last year, it successfully flew for eight minutes.
The Terrafugia has two seats, four wheels and wings that fold up so it can be driven like a car.
It can carry two people, including the pilot, plus luggage and runs on unleaded petrol.
In a statement, the company said: ‘Terrafugia made a dream come true at this year’s EAA AirVenture Oshkosh.
‘The Transition performed its first public demonstrations for the aviation community during the show.
‘Flown and driven by Phil Meteer, our Chief Test Pilot and Flight Test Coordinator, the Transition showed the crowd what it’s capable of.
‘The 20-minute demonstrations included flight manoeuvres over the show centre, converting from airplane to car, and driving along the flight line.’
Transition is considered to be a light sports plane by the U.S Federal Aviation Administration, as well as being a road car.
Owners will have to have pilot’s licenses, and will need to pass a test, plus complete 20 hours of flying time to be able to fly the car.
Despite the advances in technology the Transition demonstrates, critics have said that it is still not the vision of flying cars seen in many sci-fi films.
To answer these critics, Terrafugia also released designs for a TF-X Model of its Transition range in May.
The TF-X model will be small enough to fit in a garage and won’t need a runway to take off.
Whereas the Transition requires a runway, the TF-X can take off from a vertical position because of motorised rotors on the wings.
These rotors will work in a similar way to helicopter rotors.
Being able to take off from standstill means owners will be able to go from the road to the air straight from their driveways, car parks and even when stuck in traffic.
Although you will still need at least 100 feet in diameter in order to open the wings.
According to Terrafugia, the vehicle will carry four people ‘in car-like comfort’.
It is expected to be able to fly, nonstop, for 500 miles.
The TF-X model has not been tested yet, and prices haven’t been announced.
Terrafugia hopes to have working models of the TF-X available for sale within eight to 12 years.
Like with the Transition, pilots will need 20 hours of flying and a pilot’s licence to drive it, though.
The flying car has always had a special place in the American imagination.
Inventors have been trying to make them since the 1930s, according to Robert Mann, an airline industry analyst who owns R.W. Mann & Co. in Port Washington, New York.
But Mann thinks Terrafugia has come closer than anyone to making the flying cars a reality.
The government has already granted the company’s request to use special tires and glass that are lighter than normal automotive ones, to make it easier for the vehicle to fly.
source: Dailymail UK