Jun 292010

The US FedGov actually made an exception to one of their rules… an exception in favor of progress, entepreneurship, American business and advanced technology.


Terrafugia Transition ‘flying car’ gets go-ahead from US air authorities

The Transition was designed as a “light sport” aircraft, the smallest kind of private aeroplane under FAA classification, with a maximum weight of 1,320lb. But the manufacturers found it impossible to fit the safety features – airbags, crumple zones and roll cage, for instance – that are required for road vehicles into that weight.

Uniquely, however, the FAA has granted the Transition an exemption – allowing it to be classified as a light sport aircraft despite being 120lb over the limit.

Light sport aircraft licences require just 20 hours’ flying time, making them much easier to obtain than full private licences.

 Posted by at 8:44 pm
  • Pat Flannery

    I get a sneaking suspicion that that gizmo isn’t going to make either a very good, or safe, car or plane.
    I can picture someone flying around in it when one of the wings folds up in flight.

  • Jim

    Now people whine and bitch about the cost of getting a car fixed at an autobody shop, can you imagine what they’ll do if an A&P has to sign the work off?

    Worse, some clown gets into what he thinks is a fender-bender, doesn’t get it inspected, goes flying, dies, then the dream is over.

    I’m not very optimistic about this one.


  • Pat Flannery

    Back when the first real attempts to design flying cars cropped up, the FAA told anyone trying to build them that there was no way they were going to sign off on the concept, because if it ever went over big it was going to be a disaster from a safety viewpoint.
    It was bad enough to have drunks driving into things at 3 AM on New Year’s Day without having one fall through the roof of your house. 😀

  • JP

    The light sport aviation class is pretty cool if you’re into flying. Unfortunately they came up with that class after I became disabled.

    The Terrafugia is actually a pretty cool vehicle and being classified in the sport class really helps. If you watch the videos, it actually works! ot’s not like a Moller flying car.

    I think if they made it a three wheeled vehicle with small outboard wheels to keep it from tipping over, but don’t touch the ground, then it could be classified as a motorcycle! It’s front wheel drive

  • gar

    Interesting, but probably not really newsworthy.
    In the ultralight class of aircraft there is already an exception for personal safety devices such as parachutes, survival gear, O2 tanks etc. Perhaps the ‘Ruling’ was just that bumpers and airbags are equivalent to parachutes?


  • Peter

    My take: the regime saw no advantage to interfering, and let the lower level people exercise some sense in doing their job. I agree with Gar about the ultralight safety gear precedent.

  • JP:


    Peter, IIRC you pointed that one out to me.

  • Pat Flannery

    That would have to be one hell of a front bumper to deal with going into the ground nose-first. 😀
    On the photos, it looks like a canard control surface.
    The cockpit canopy looks like a scaled-up P-39 canopy when seen from the side.

  • JP

    I found one that I’d like http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IcF49c-lWfU

  • JP

    Switchblade has the trike concept backwards, it needs two front wheels for stability. Also the mistake in most of these concepts is a side by side seating arrangement. I used to go flying in my friend Klaus Savier’s World Record holding Vari-Eze and it performs like a jet fighter. The seating is very comfortable with plenty of room. For driving, nothing beats a centerline steered vehicle like an F1 racer.

    But flying vehicles that require a runway will always be problematic. Maybe out where Scott lives, you could land and take off, but not in most urban environments.

    I like the Aptera and if that could be combined with a counter-rotating dual rotor system, then you could “hop around” town. If a really good electric or hybrid engine could be used then the noise level might be acceptable. One ghetto bird is annoying, can you imagine a bunch of Moller flying cars, have you heard how loud that thing is?

    It’d have to be pretty light so it might be possible to put a landing pad on your roof and the roof’s of bid boxes like Wal-Mart.