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EAA AirVenture Today is published by the Experimental Aircraft Association for EAA AirVenture from July 27 - August 3. It is distributed free on the convention grounds as well as other locations in Oshkosh and surrounding communities. Stories and photos are copyrighted 2008 by EAA AirVenture Today and EAA. Reproduction by any means is prohibited without written consent.


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The official daily newspaper of EAA AirVenture Oshkosh

Volume 9, Number 7 August 2, 2008     

Terrafugia ready for road, flight testing
By Barbara A. Schmitz

The Terrafugia Transition is expected to get 30 to 40 mpg as a car and fly at 100 knots at 4.5 gph. Photo by Phil Weston

Terrafugia’s "roadable" aircraft is on static display at EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2008, but if all tests go as planned, it will be back in Oshkosh next year to demonstrate its driving and flying capabilities.

Terrafugia CEO Carl Dietrich said the company will begin tests on the Transition’s cooling system as soon as it returns to its Woburn, Massachusetts, base. Driving tests should begin within two months, and it should make its first flight by the end of the year.

The Transition will be certificated as a light-sport aircraft. It will run on super unleaded gasoline, so you can drive it to the pump to fill up, and it should get 30 to 40 miles per gallon on the road. That’s because it is lightweight — 1,320 pounds gross — with a 100-hp engine, Dietrich said. An airframe and powerplant mechanic would need to make repairs, however, since it is an aircraft that just happens to drive.

Around 40 people have already put down a deposit on a Transition, which sells for $194,000 and will meet highway safety standards.

The main advantage of the Transition is that it gives pilots a fourth option when they encounter bad weather. "Right now there are only three options if you run into bad weather, and none of them are good," Dietrich said. "You can turn around and go home, divert to the nearest airport and sit it out, or push on. The Transition would allow pilots to divert to the nearest airport, fold up the wings, and keep going. I expect it will help pilots make safer decisions."

It takes less than 15 seconds to fold up the wings, and it’s done at the push of the button, he said. Safety precautions ensure that the wings can fold up only when the pilot wants them to.

If everything goes smoothly, the first delivery will be in late 2009. Those who put down a deposit now should get their vehicle by the end of 2011, Dietrich said.

The Transition is located in the Main Aircraft Display area in booth 220-221.

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