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The Bat Cave EAR

Evie is an aeorspace engineer and will blog about current events in various fields including but not limited to: Space, Astronomy, Genetics, Biology, Green Energy, Neuroscience, Physics, Quantum Physics, Evolution, Environmental issues, Engineering.. Pretty much anything and everything that catches her eye. Stay tuned! Thoughts, comments, requests – always welcomed!

My posts are presented as opinion and commentary and do not represent the views of LabSpaces Productions, LLC, my employer, or my educational institution.

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Awesome Stuff
Sunday, August 8, 2010

The Terrafugia Transition. Credit: Terrafugia.

It's a bird! It's a plane!! No wait... It's a car!

No, I’m not kidding, it really is a car that flies. I don’t know how I missed this, but apparently this concept has been around for a few years now.

A group of MIT engineers got together and started a company called Terrafugia who manufactures this car-plane hybrid.

Cool name. As you probably guessed, it’s derived from the Latin words ‘Terra’ meaning Earth or ground, and ‘Fugia’ meaning escape.

The Terrafugia Transition in flight. Credit: Terrafugia.

What you’re looking at is the Terrafugia Transition. As the name suggests, it actually does transition between plane mode and car mode. In under 30 seconds no less! The transition itself is just the flip of a switch, which commands the wings to unfold and lock into place, or fold back up allowing you to drive away.

The car plane runs on regular gas, available at any gas station. How convenient! It even gets really good gas mileage in car mode, about 35 mpg. (Just like my pretty little civic did..)

This is a neat promo vid they made, kinda cheesy at times, but provides some good info.

The vehicle is designed with rear wheel drive, continuously variable transmission, and independent suspension, which makes it totally drivable, just like any other automatic transmission car on the road. It’s got a standard steering wheel, break and gas pedals, and has been successfully tested at speeds up to 100 mph. And yes, it is street legal! You’ll need just a regular driver’s license to use it for ground transportaion.

Plane mode will get you to a max velocity (Vh) of 100 knots, which is equivalent to about 115 mph. And it will carry you as far as 490 miles from your starting point, on a full tank of gas.

Yup, this 2-seater plane-car is indeed FAA approved as well! It falls under the Light Sport Aircraft category and if you want to get a license to fly one of these babies, you can do so in as little as 20 hours. That’s half the minimum number of hours required for a private pilot's license for the small Cessnas.

If you’re interested in the slightly more technical aspects, watch this vid, it’s from a few years ago, but still full of useful info. The gist of it is, they used carbon fiber composites of course, to keep it lightweight, pre-pregs mostly, and did away with all hydraulics by using only electric motors everywhere. They also have some very cool patented wing locking mechanisms. If you’re into mechanical design, you’ll appreciate this.

You will also be happy to know that according to their website, under ‘convenience’ we are assured that the ‘Cargo area holds golf clubs.’ What a relief. I was quite concerned about that.

As far as the price tag goes, it’s hovering around $200,000 so you might wanna take some time to think about this purchase. After all, for $200k you could also buy yourself a seat on Virgin Galactic's SpaceShipTwo, and take a ride to the edge of Space! It’s a tough call.. but I think I would probly opt for the Space adventure, if I had that kinda money to throw around, that is.

If you'd like to put down a deposit for your very own car-plane, or just check out the website click--> Terrafugia

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Blog Comments

Lady Scientist
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Only $200,000! Sign me up! Especially since it will fit my non-existent golf clubs.

At least now I can tell people that we have flying cars, when they bug me about what science has done for them lately.

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Hehehe.. that is a good answer. But, do people really ask you that? Wow. Hello, that cell phone you're playing your music on, yea, that's science!

Future Corpse
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I still think it's just an airplane.

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It is, it just happens to run on gasoline like a car, and can be driven home straight off the runway :)

Guest Comment

nice... i think its kinda cute.... nice bumper, nice car mirror.....

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