Flying car? Road-going plane? Whatever the Terrafugia Transition is, it’s finally starting to show its airborne skills, being publicly shown off going from road to flight to road again for the first time in a 20 minute demonstration at the EAA AirVenture show this weekend. The $300k hybrid went from trundling the runway at the Oshkosh, WI airshow – wings furled – to taking off and performing a fly-by for the crowd.
It’s not the first time the Transition has flown, of course. Back in 2012, the company announced the converting car had taken to the skies for the very first time, following a proof-of-concept flight of an earlier prototype in 2009.
This latest demonstration, however, aimed to show just how practical the Transition technology could be. The car’s wings are motorized and can be controlled from inside the cabin, meaning you could effectively go from road to air without stepping outside. That, Terrafugia president of business development Richard Gersh argues, makes it ideal for use in bad weather.
Still, exactly who might be interested in buying one is still something of a mystery, especially given the price tag of more than a quarter of a million dollars. “We don’t know the market yet. A lot of people are waiting to see it fly,” Gersh told the Journal Sentinel. “But if you see one flying, that’s the best advertising.”
Right now, though, only $10,000 deposits are being taken, and they’re refundable too. Over 100 have apparently put their names down, despite the production car not being expected until 2015 at the earliest.
If the Transition – which couldn’t really be called car-like in its design – is a little too close to a plane for your liking, Terrafugia’s planned TF-X might be worth waiting for. Currently a concept, it’s described as a “four-seat, plug-in hybrid electric flying car with fly-by-wire vertical takeoff and landing” to make flight just as straightforward as driving.