Second-generation Transition Plane/Car Makes First Flight

Could this be the answer to gaining more cottage and boating time?

The Composites World Newsletter shared a story that Terrafugia (Woburn, Mass., USA) reported on April 2 that its composites-intensive Transition Street-Legal Airplane is now a significant step closer to being a commercial reality. The production prototype of the Transition Street-Legal Airplane completed its successful first flight at Plattsburgh International Airport (Plattsburgh, N.Y., USA) on March 23.

The Transition’s first flight reached an altitude of 1,400 ft/427m above the ground and lasted eight minutes while staying in the vicinity of Plattsburgh International Airport. It demonstrated the controllability and safe operational characteristics of the aircraft. Six phases of flight testing are planned to continue development and demonstrate compliance to the Light Sport Aircraft standards.

The same vehicle has also successfully conducted initial drive and conversion testing. The Transition is a two-seat personal aircraft capable of driving on roads and highways, parking in a single-car garage and flying with unleaded automotive fuel.

“The successful first flight of this Production Prototype Transition marks a critical move toward initial production and first delivery,” says COO Anna Mracek Dietrich. The Production Prototype phase of the Transition program follows Proof of Concept work, which included a flying, driving Proof of Concept vehicle and was completed in 2009. The Production Prototype program includes two vehicles and is being used to develop and inform the manufacturing tool-up and compliance program necessary to begin commercial deliveries. Terrafugia will continue its testing program in preparation for first delivery, which is expected to occur within the next year.

Regarding this first flight, Terrafugia CEO/CTO and co-founder Carl Dietrich, says, "The first flight of the Transition Production Prototype is a major milestone for Terrafugia. With this flight, the team demonstrated an ability to accomplish what had been called an impossible dream. We look forward to continuing to show that the challenges of bringing a practical street legal airplane to market can be overcome. This is a very exciting time for Terrafugia. We are on our way up – literally and figuratively!"

The Transition Production Prototype is on display at the New York International Auto Show April 6 to 15 at the Jacob Javits Convention Center in New York, N.Y.

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