If you’ve ever sat in rush hour traffic wishing that you could push a button and have Chitty Chitty Bang Bang whisk you away to the highway in the sky, your wish may no longer be that far fetched. Though they might need to come up with a better name, the Transition Roadable Aircraft, a highway worthy airplane developed by Massachusetts-based Terrafugia was recently granted a critical exemption from a weight limit requirement by the Federal Aviation Administration. This exemption puts Terrafugia one step closer to full production of their light sport/road ready aircraft.
The developers of the flying car (or is it a driving plane?) say that switching from plane to car mode is as simple as putting down your top on your convertible. And with a quick 20 hours of lightweight aircraft pilot training you too will be able to move from sky to road. In fact, the company is so confident of its ability to secure final FAA approval that they are already taking deposits on preorders for the nearly $200,000 car. It might be a hefty price to pay to beat the traffic, but at least the Terrafugia will pay you back with a nice 35 mpg on the highway.
But really, do we want to trade cars on the road for cars in the sky, even if they are fuel efficient? While flying cars may be here sooner then we think, the real next generation of energy efficient flying cars are just beginning to be imagined. The Yee car designed out of the South China University of Technology takes it a critical step further with their solar powered flying plane. Right now it’s just a sketch on paper, but until recently that’s all any flying car was.