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back to article World's first proper flying car makes debut flight

The Terrafugia Transition "roadable aircraft" - the nearest thing to a flying car yet built - has made its first test flight. Terrafugia says that the flight took place on March 5, and will hold a media briefing at 1430 UK time. Meanwhile pictures of the flight are available on the company's website. The Terrafugia Transition …

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Paris Hilton

@Secretgeek

Although if it hoovered I might be.

She knows about hoovering....

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Anonymous Coward

@AC and the SVA and TA

"if the vehicle passes an SVA it does not need type approval."

Bollocks. The SVA is for SINGLE Vehicle Approval. If they want to sell it commercially over here they would need to go for type approval. Otherwise all manufacturers would try to pull that stunt. SVA and indeed the goog old LVTA are loopholes to allow kit cars and very low volume production cars onto the road. SVA only covers you for either user constructed vehicles (well sort of, you can have your kit car assemble for you by a professional) or user imported vehicles. So if you were to import one of these yourself or have it imported for you then SVA would be OK, if a company was set up to import them then it would not be. There is a subset of TA for low volume vehicles which is sort of a super SVA, mainly so you don't have to test a vehicle to destruction.

Having said all that you could pass SVA and still get nailled under the C&U regs. It's a very remote possibility, but it's still the case. The greatest likelyhood of this happening would be after a fatal accident if somebody wanted to prove that your vehicle somehow contributed to the accident or the injuries. SVA gets you a MAC, it doesn't get you a waiver for C&U compliance. Once upon a time there was an assumption that an MOT certificate conferred road legality, these days it seems SVA has taken the place of the MOT in that particular myth.

"there are no 'crash safety regs' in the UK"

Also bollocks. There ARE crash safety regulations in the UK as part of TA.

"surely this is a demonstration not a test. the Merc A class is road legal! as are transit vans.."

What? The elk test is indeed a legal requirement in some parts of europe. And it doesn't AFAIK apply to commercials. Although I have done the chicane at Donninton at speed in a Transit and not rolled it. As we move to full European TA it will be mandatory accross the whole EU. Sorry but the Merc A class does indeed pass the Elk test. Very early examples didn't, but then Mercedes fitted a "stability control system" which to be fair just increases understeer. Reducing grip to increase safety strikes me as a stupid idea, but there you go.

"With very low front/rear overhang wide and long wheelbase with a very low centre of Mass I don't think it'll have any problems with corners.. like most 'pancake' kit cars if its longer than it is wide has a wheel at each corner has a low centre of mass then it will handle fine.."

Doesn't look like it has a wheel at each corner to me. Take a look at the back end in that photo again...

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Bronze badge
Boffin

Do it properly

Anything less than vectored thrust from a fusion reactor is clearly inadequate propulsion.

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Anonymous Coward

Radio 4 Comedy Cabin Pressure

Did this one just the other day! Only with a jumbo jet. Starts at around 24min into the recording.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/console/b00cm9p6

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tossers

What a bunch of fucking whinging gits we have here. It's a car. It's a plane. It's everything that's been advertised as a "flying car", and how you're fucking complaining about it? Tossers!!

I'll take two please.

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Bronze badge

flipp

i wonder if the Massive bloody wings sticking up in the air would be like to drive along the motor way

along those lines what happens if you drive into a sidewind at 60mph !

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Black Helicopters

'Leccy Tech

Not interested until it appears in El Reg's 'Leccy Tech column.

"Any technology distinguishable from magic is insufficiently advanced"

Helicopter icon, well naturally.

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Stop

It's no Wright Flyer!

I believe the whole enterprise is well-intentioned, but gloriously ill-advised . I watched the videos and saw the photos and at no time did I witness a banked aircraft. Sure, it flew off the ground -- very reminiscent of the 1st Wright flight -- then equally fast settled to the runway. Even the French were skeptical of real flight until Wilbur flew circles above them. Then they went wild with adulation! They have an animation showing the plane landing and folding its wings. What? Why not the real thing? Even the parking vid showed a very flimsy folded wing assembly. Nothing that seemed close to having proper aerodynamics for freeway speeds. The Globe article mentions a dearth of backers. Duh! Even properly designed and maintained GA aircraft have their unfortunate share of accidents and fatalities. This one seems designed more for Kamikaze wannabes. There, at least, the sacrificial heroes didn't have to pay for their own aircraft.

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Alert

Not the first ... meet the Mizar

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rzv4q5EEy1k

Ford Pinto with optional Airplane attachment.

Yes, a Pinto ... i guess there's less of a rear end explosion when in the air.

But, in general, the concept will NEVER work. The vehicle must be strong enough to be safe on the road and light enough to fly efficiently. Compromising to do both just makes for an expensive, fuel guzzling beast that does poorly on the ground and in the air.

And you've seen all the idiots you have to drive with ... do you really want them in the air ... tossing out trash, bottles of urine, lit cigarette butts above your home?

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Silver badge

Rich wanker's toy

Those grumbling about how impractical this thing is are missing the point. This is not supposed to replace your car for commuting, nor a real plane for long trips.

It is intended as a toy for tooling around and does not have to be practical. Look at microlights etc they're not practical planes, but people buy them for weekend fun. This is much the same except it is probably more comfortable and gives you a ride to and from the airfield.

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Thumb Up

Like the Idea

I am seeing car and I am seeing an airfield and I am wondering if we are going to see a test drive on TOP GEAR

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Thumb Up

C'mon, think about this seriously...

Fact - it's probably MUCH safer than a motorcycle / sidecar on the road, and you can insure those and drive them without dying horribly every day.

Fact - plenty of plonkers fly light planes, and they aren't dropping out of the skies at 1 per sqkm per day. Well, not round here, anyway.

Fact - plenty of light planes out there probably *just* pass airworthiness, but we don't cower in fear about them.

Fact - plenty of HEAVY planes *cough* turkish/africa/indonesian airlines sometimes don't *quite* pass safety standards either.

Fact - yes, we've all seen the idiots we have to drive with, and unfortunately we are still not allowed to shoot them through the head on sight.

Fact - the aforementioned idiots are still going to drive around in their MONSTA-TRUK 4WD OFFROADE TOUROSPECIAL JACCUZZI-MATIC 9 TON CITY SPECIAL taking their kiddies to school at 125km/h while talking on the phone, drinking McDonalds coffee, doing their fingernails and reading No Idea at the same time.

Fact - why is everyone so damn scared of the extremely minimal death-and-injury stats for light aircraft compared to the massively horrendous death-and-injury toll caused by the common car?

Surely we could save more lives and community costs by encouraging people to fly planes than to drive cars.

Maybe we should apply the same tests and requirements of commercial airline pilots to everyday car users - that would certainly produce safer roads!

Personally I think this is a brilliant design, and I want one.

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Pirate

@Adrian Eskdale

Why is everyone so scared of crashing in a light aircraft compared to driving? Easy, survivability. We like to think we have an odds on chance of living through a vehicle crash whereas falling out the sky? not so much. Your stats on air accidents would carry more punch if you focussed on single engined light aircraft which fall out of the sky on a regular basis. This is for the simple reason that engines fail and when you have only one and you are hundreds or thousands of feet up you are in trouble.

The other thing is that the major risks of a plane journey occur at the beginning and end which are a minority of trip time and length which is not true of road travel. So the comparison is somewhat fatuous. That is before you factor in that there is much less to hit in the air than on the ground and much denser traffic etc. If airspace became as congested as the roads then the crash rate would inevitably rise. BTW two light aircraft recently collided in mid air and killed someone on the ground when they crashed in a built up area in New Zealand.

No thanks.

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Go

Totally Intriguing

This is an exciting development, with real implications for the future of transportation. Even if it cannot, for logistical reason, become ubiquitous, I am sure that such vehicles will, like helicopters, find a strong niche in the future of travel. - Frank Pollacco

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Sam

That's all well & good, But...

Can it tow my caravan?

Can I get a roof-rack to fit this?

And while we're on the subject, exactly what kind of hat should I wear whilst driving/flying?

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Go

What Do You Mean, "Proper?"

It has only 3 wheels, so it may qualify as a motorcycle. Then, you would need only a helmet, not a cage, air-bag, etc. However, you would need a motorcycle license, which in Virginia, USA requires extra training.

I don't call it a "proper" flying car because it has to turn into an airplane before it can fly. Rather like a Transformer. I'm waiting for a lifting body, multi-wing, or something that has a wingspan within the maximum allowable width for a car.

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