Terrafugia’s car/airplane hybrid soars on latest FAA ruling

SolidWorks customer Terrafugia is
one step closer to bringing aircraft to a garage on your street. Maybe even
your own driveway.  



News comes from the UK publication The Register that the FAA recently designated
Terrafugia’s Transition combination
aircraft/road vehicle as a “light sport aircraft.” The light sport aircraft
designation means Transition buyers can fly one with a sport pilot’s license
rather than a full pilot’s license.  That
helps Woburn, Mass.-based Terrafugia push the Transition idea to a larger
market, improving its chances of becoming a widely used form of alternative


Transition is a cleverly designed little aircraft that, upon landing, can
fold its wings and drive on roads like a sub compact car. While the term
“flying car” is tempting, Terrafugia prefers “roadable aircraft” to avoid
comparisons with the gimmicky
flying cars of generations past.
Terrafugia is betting that Transition will
find a market with travelers who want their own plane for short business and/or
personal travel, but don’t want to pay to store it at an airport. With
Transition, you fly to the airport nearest your destination; drive off the
runway to your destination; drive back to the airport; fly yourself to your
local airport and drive home.


Terrafugia used SolidWorks to help tame the engineering issues inherent
in combining air and ground travel in a single vehicle. Transition had to be
light enough to get off the ground, but needed features like air bags and a
protective cage to keep passengers safe from ground collisions. The ground
safety features put Transition about 110 pounds over the weight limit,
according to The Register, but it was
apparently close enough. Terrafugia spoke
to us in March
about balancing the demands of designing a viable aircraft
and ground vehicle in one package. This should clear the way for commercial
production. Terrafugia already has orders for 70 Transitions. Good luck to the
Terrafugia team!