Flying Cars!

Actually, Terrafugia more appropriately calls it a "roadable aircraft." More importantly, it's not just roadable, but garagable and parallel parkable. Terrafugia has now released a simulator for their "Transition" vehicle and is taking deposits. They expect to be selling them in late 2009 for around $150k.

While the Moller Skycar is a much cooler concept because it allows you to take off from your driveway, it also requires the creation of an entirely new category of aircraft by the FAA, who have nowhere in their mandate any requirement to actually fail to drive small companies into the ground with red tape (unlike their office of commercial space transportation). The Transition, on the other hand, is designed to be driven from your garage to the airport, then from the destination airport to your final destination. Terrafugia is trying to get it certified as a light sport aircraft - a category that already exists - and if that doesn't work out they can always get it certified as a regular general aviation aircraft (think Cessna 172). They'll also have to meet the safety and emissions standards of various state DMVs for people to be able to drive them on public roads, but that hardly seems like a deal killer since it already has to be light, aerodynamic, and efficient to fly in the first place. While it sounds cool, Moller's attempt to bypass airports is really not much of a win - there are plenty of underutilized general aviation airports in the US.

Ironically, if I had one of these I'd be driving it to San Jose International rather than the closer GA-only Reid Hillview because SJC has such high tiedown fees few people use it for general aviation any more, making it much less busy than RHV.

Hat tip: Chaos Manor Musings

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