Your Flying Car is Coming

Posted: July 8, 2010

It's 2010. Where the heck are the flying cars?  Apparently, they're right around the corner.

"Back to the Future fanatics, rejoice: A Massachusetts-based aircraft manufacturer is getting ready to sell a flying car," writes TheStreet.com.

MSNBC reports, "The Terrafugia, a small airplane that can drive on roads and has been billed as the first 'flying car,' is now one step closer to becoming street- and sky-legal." 

The Terrafugia glided over FAA hurdles for vehicle classification. "The FAA has classified the Terrafugia Transition as a 'light sport aircraft,' which is the smallest classification for a private airplane. This means that it is possible to get a license to fly the thing with only 20 hours of flying time, much less than a standard pilot's license," explains Inside Line.

The Terrafugia is actually about 100 pounds heavier than the 1,320 pound weight limit for light sport aircraft.  However, the FAA allowed the classification anyway.  The extra weight comes from safety features the plane/car needed to have in order to be street legal.

"According to its maker, the Terrafugia can transform from a roadable vehicle that can hit a highway speed of 65 mph to a winged aircraft in 30 seconds. The plane version can cruise at about 115 mph (185 kph) and cover about 400 miles (644 kilometers) worth of turf before needing a refill of regular unleaded gas," says MSNBC. 

So, with just 20 hours of training, you could fly from Los Angeles to San Francisco in about three and a half hours. Driving that distance takes nearly seven hours -- and that's before you take traffic into account. The Terrafugia isn't exactly something George Jetson would recognize, but it's a step in the right direction.  The Terrafugia will start at $194,000.  The company has already reported 70 pre-orders. The first deliveries are expected sometime in 2011.

If you're in the market for a new, earthbound car, check out the U.S. News rankings of this year's best cars as well as this month's best car deals.

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