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EAA AirVenture Oshkosh RSS FeedTerrafugia unveils next generation design of flying car
Story and photo by Barbara A. Schmitz

A scale model of the next generation design of the Terrafugia Transition was unveiled to the public on Monday.

Terrafugia unveiled a scale model of its next-generation flying car on Monday, and announced it will make its first public flight at next year's EAA AirVenture Oshkosh.

"This next-generation design is the culmination of the past four years of desired improvements to our poof of concept," said Carl Dietrich, Terrafugia's CEO and co-founder. "These design changes and improvements are based on data acquired during the driving and flight testing of this vehicle, and extensive computer-aided design optimization."

The proof of concept was built from July 2007 to July 2008, with ground and air testing taking place between September 2008 and June 2009.

The revised Transition roadable aircraft will include:

  • Automobile-style crash safety features, including a rigid safety cage to protect its occupants, crumple zones, and driver and passenger airbags
  • A customized, intuitive touch-screen interface in the cockpit
  • An improved wing with an optimized airfoil and a folding-wing mechanism that operates smoothly from inside the vehicle
  • A higher efficiency pusher propeller with an open empennage that makes efficient use of the 100-hp Rotax 912 S engine
  • Rear-wheel drive with a continuously variable transmission and tuned independent suspension for the road

Dietrich said Terrafugia was able to add the safety features, thanks to an FFA exemption that allowed Transition to exceed the weight of a light-sport aircraft by 110 pounds, to 1,430 pounds.

"Because our vehicle is designed for dual mode use in the same way an amphibious aircraft is, the FFA saw fit to allow us an additional 110 pounds, just like the amphibians, for automotive-style safety features…," Dietrich said. Those safety features are not available in other light aircraft, he said, and should make the Transition one of the safest LSA in the world.

The next-generation Transition is expected to cruise at 105 mph and burn fuel at 5 gph. On the road, it is expected to get 35 miles per gallon when driven at 65 mph.

Dietrich said the next-generation design is currently under construction and should be completed by early next year, with deliveries taking place in late 2011. It will still be small enough to fit inside a single-car garage.

Terrafugia had originally said the proof of concept would sell for $194,000, but the company is re-evaluating that price because of the new design, Dietrich said. So far, the company has more than 80 orders.

Noting that Terrafugia has been coming to AirVenture since 2006, EAA President/Chairman Tom Poberezny called Oshkosh the incubator of dreams. "We're very excited about the opportunity that makes dreams a reality."

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