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back to article Transition roadable-plane/flyable-car prototype on show

A prototype of the Terrafugia Transition - the folding-winged, road-drivable light aeroplane, perhaps the vehicle closest in the world to being a flying car - was revealed to the general public at an air show in America yesterday. The designers say they are on track for first flights and road-safety testing by the end of the …

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Anonymous Coward

Terrafugly, more like

although 26mpg sounds reasonable enough. What about the all-important CO2 and NCAP results, though?

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Sam

430lb

Carries one American, then?

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Anonymous Coward

So much for the US

And how does it fit in with British/European legislation then?

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Jobs Horns

Wings

It's just a plane with folding wings isn't it?

Flying car my arse.

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Alert

NCAP

Do NCAP do tests for a 5000ft vertical descent? Would the need to test *all* realistic possible accidents mandate this?

1/2 star for trying??

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Cheaper skycar coming soon

For a cheaper option see http://skycarexpedition.com/about_skycar.php

It was on static display at Goodwood Fesitval.

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Not true

"A normal private pilot can't acquire or keep up the instrument flying skills that would allow operations in bad weather or heavily-used airspace."

And what supporting evidence do you have for that? It is *entirely* possible and likely that a "normal" private pilot will acquire an instrument rating, at least in the US. It does take a bit of work to get it and to remain current, but there's nothing extraordinary about it. And even without an instrument rating, normal private pilots can still fly in heavily-used airspace; it just requires talking a bit more than usual over the radio.

Perhaps by "private pilot", you meant "sport pilot"?

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Bronze badge

flying doctors

If the 'car' part itself was rugged enough, I could see its use in th Australian bush or Canada's north or even Patagonia, etc., that is, any place where there were largish distances to cover, but where it would be darn handy if you could hand and then also get yourself to the place you needed to be. The weight restrictions would keep it to one doctor and her/his kit, and the photograph of it suggests to me that 30 minutes of bouncing over a 'road' in the wilderness would require it itself to be rescued. But a more robust model in the future, a sort of flying lorry, if you will, could have a useful function.

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Coat

US PPL

"A licence to pilot a light-sport plane is easier to get than a normal private pilot's ticket"

But in the US, getting a PPL is as easy as asking an instructor to write "he can fly gud" on the back of a fag packet.

Mine's the silver jump-suit with the protein pills in the pocket.

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Go

PAL-V

http://blogs.motortrend.com/6205371/car-news/when-cars-fly-pal-v-out-to-make-flying-vehicle-a-reality/index.html

Tilting car - uses technology from the carver car, coupled with auto-gyro flying ability.

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Bronze badge

Roadable-plane/flyable-car

Shouldn't that be "Driveable-plane/flyable car"? Or perhaps "roadable-plane/airable car"?

</pedant>

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Really? Come try it.

But in the US, getting a PPL is as easy as asking an instructor to write "he can fly gud" on the back of a fag packet.

Think so? Come and try it.

The problem with aviation in the UK is the CAA, "Campaign Against Aviation" AKA "Charge Again & Again".

The US has 300 million people and about 320,000 registered personal aircraft - we are not talking airliners. The UK has about 60 million people, and a comparable standard of living (broadly speaking). The UK should therefore have about 60,000 registered personal aircraft.

The actual number (CAA figures) is 10,000, one sixth of what it should be.

The accident rate is about the same on both sides of the pond. We have 32 times as many airplanes per capita, that should tell you SOMETHING.

Before you randomly slag off US pilots I suggest you come on over and try learning to fly, if you think you can hack it. Think it is as easy as you claim, oh boy are YOU in for a BIG expensive surprise!!!!

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Stop

Lewis !!

"With a decent amount of runway a Transition could no doubt get airborne a bit overweight."

Shame on you Lewis. The weight & balance goblins lie ready to devour the negligent flyer.

It's a novelty toy pure and simple. However novelty toys can be great fun.

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Units

What are these "lbs" of which you speak?

Since this is a non-American quasi-technical publication, how about SI units?

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until the first parking lot bender

the first minor bodywork damage will cause dangerous consequences to the vehicle's aerodynamics. One knucklehead opening his door too fast and the wing is damaged. One enraged spandex wearing bicyclist using his fixx as a bludgeon and your expensive toy doesn't fly.

This thing is designed either by MBA's or former dot-com web designers. It's a solution looking for a problem. Perhaps some Web 2.0 tard will want one, or GoldenPalace.com will strap ad banners to it.

Now if I'm interested in a flying car, the PALV looks nice but it might not work in reality. And for my choice in the Sport Aircraft class, there's the Icon A5 amphibian.

http://www.iconaircraft.com/news.html#icon-a5-prototype-flies

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IT Angle

Its the maintainance....

The problem with planes is that they're easy to break and hard to fix. Suppose you park this thing at the supermarket (a fantasy, but bear with me) and someone in another car, or even just with a shopping cart, dings it. The damage may be minor but its got to be fixed, documented and signed off by a properly licensed airframe mechanic. This can get rather expensive.

I resent the "anyone can get a license" comment about the US. Its not that easy which is why the FAA opened the sport pilot license class, it allows people to putter around in ultralights and other small planes in ways that allow minimal training but also minimal risk to us on the ground. The FAA also has a very effective enforcement arm; its one of those things that is almost invisible until it drops on you like a 25 ton weight -- so yes, you can fly around endangering yourself but as soon as you start endangering other people, THUD.

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Bronze badge

What happened to...

...flightplans? You know, those pesky pieces of papers you're supposed to lodge *before* you take off and enter the lanes?

Until and unless getting flight clearance becomes as simple as paying the toll on the motorway, these things will be less than useless.

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The reason the UK has less PPLs

Is that it's a damn site smaller. In the US (I'd think) it could actually be a lot quicker to fly if you're going far enough (but not too far). In the UK journeys tend to be shorter.

Our airspace is also (I'm guessing) busier, due to the relative size of the place again. We have about the land size of florida with 1/5th the population of the entire USA in it, and multiple international airports dotted all over it.

A flying car would be great for the commute from Sheffield to Leeds or Manchester, but unless it can do VTOL, or at least VL then I can't see it being workable.

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Unhappy

US vs UK PPL

Miami Mike,

>But in the US, getting a PPL is as easy as asking an instructor to write "he can fly gud" on the back of a fag packet

I think the poster was referring to the difficulty in obtaining a Sport Pilot's License. However, I started my PPL in the UK and finished it here in the US, so I feel pretty qualified to give an informed opinion.

Most UK pilots learn to fly in much more congested airspace (I would image the majority of US GA pilots have never even flown into a Class B; my very first flying lesson involved heavy traffic wake avoidance at BMI), and in the UK, the theory aspect is much, much more intense. Obviously, the basic mechanics of flight 'pull stick back, houses get smaller (for a while anyway)' still holds, but the written test here was a doddle. I did self study for a couple of days, a review with my instructor and then scored 96% in 40 minutes on the multiple-guess test.

That said, the US syllabus was comprehensive and I felt that I was well prepared to meet most contingencies, but getting a driver's license in the UK is harder, as is passing the PPL.

Sad face because of the price of AVGAS and the fact that I don't have time to fly anymore!

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Anonymous Coward

Standards

The derogatory comments on US pilot training are unfair. The standards required to pass a test for a JAR PPL are the same the world over.

However the most important skills are not in the test. These being good judgement and airmanship. These skills are the mark of top quality training.

This is scary though;

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/bristol/7499009.stm

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Heart

catch penny

for tards with too much moolah. Apart from shopping trolleys, weight and balance already mentioned, ordinary motor car bumping rattling and shaking will have a VERY deleterious effect on serviceability.

Look what gets spent on road vehicle design and development and then you are by comparison anyway, dealing with rank amateurs. Light a/c engineering is a shoestring affair unless its cessna or equivalent. Add to that the rigours of road use and it's a foregone conclusion to end in tears and wasted effort.

an idea worthy of lovely PH

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Flame

@Mark_T

I agree with you.

When I passed my PPL, one of the tests was to wortk out the centre of gravity of my plane with a given load in the 'cargo area' and a given number of passengers and approx. weight.

If you put too much weight in the wrong place, the Centre of Gravity goes outside limits and you'll either be nose heavy (safest because you probably won't get off the ground, or won't be able to climb) or tail heavy (dangerous, you'll probably get off the ground but stall during climb-out or a turn).

Crash and burn, because that'll be the result...

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Gates Halo

I once had that Einstein bloke in the back of my cab.

Ah, that wunnerful word "prototype".

Apparently there are at least three anti gravity machines plus a jam jar for initiating cold fusion already at prototype stage.

And have been for 20 years.

C'mon, Reg. If you're going to chronicle "prototypes" such as this, let's at least have a science fiction section to sit alongside that already devoted to science.

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