Flying car goes commercial

2011-11-07 08:49

US company Terrafugia says it is developing a flying car and is eyeing the booming economies of India, Brazil and China as future markets.

About 100 people have already order a "combined flying-driving vehicle", the Transition, which has been priced at the equivalent of R2.2-million and is scheduled for launch late in 2012.


The two-seat vehicle is designed to fly between local airports, drive off the runway and join everyday traffice. The company hopes it will be the world's first commercially viable flying car.

It has a rear propeller for flying and is powered for both flight and road travel by unleaded petrol from regular service stations; it's also said to be small enough to fit into a household garage.

It converts from a car into a light sports aircraft in about 30 seconds - not much slower than erecting a convertible's power roof.


Carl Dietrich, chief executive and co-founder of Terrafugia, said: "We will launch it initially in the US and eventually expand into Europe but for the second phase we are looking at China, Brazil and India, growing markets for this kind of product."

Terrafugia said in June 2011 that it had received special clearance from the US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration for the vehicle to ply the US road network.

The Transition is the first combined fly/drive vehicle to receive such an exemption from US authorities. It means delivery to customers can go ahead.

Terrafugia, Latin for "escape from land", said in March 2009 that the Transition had successfully completed its first flight, hailing it as "a milestone for aviation".

Dietrich told The Wall Street Journal earlier this year that the company's initial customers would be pilots moving around smaller airports across the United States.

Watch The Transition in action below:


  • UlaGillion - 2011-11-07 09:35

    In no time, the Chinese will probably come up with a cheaper one, but in the meantime I could do with one of those considering the bad drivers around me :))

      David - 2011-11-07 12:02

      I would rather keep all the bad drivers on the ground instead of buzzing around my roof top...so not very keen on this for mass appeal in any way. It will need to be very well regulated, last thing you want is cars crashing in your back yard and drunk drivers taking off when they see a roadblock :-)

      Franna16 - 2011-11-07 13:00

      David you would need a pilots license to fly this so there wont be any problems

  • Tafiska - 2011-11-07 09:36

    This will suit the BEE guys .

  • Greg - 2011-11-07 09:46

    Oooh... I want, I want. Breakfast in Gauteng, lunch in Durbs and dinner in Cape Town. Fill her up please, make it unleaded. Oh, and check the tyres. Don't how I'm going to pay for all of this and then there is getting the flying lessons and licence. Guess this will be for an exclusive market only. But, like @Ula said, maybe the Chinese will come up with something more affordable (and dangerous).

      Mike - 2011-11-07 10:03

      Very true PilgrimX, in general aviation there is a colloquial term for flying somewhere to get lunch - the R1k burger! At R1k/hour for a 4 seater nowadays not even that holds true anymore. The license will also set you back about R65k.

  • Burtfred - 2011-11-07 09:54

    Quick, buy some of these for Zuma and his goons. Make sure they have blue lights on top.

      Greg - 2011-11-07 09:57

      Not expensive enough...

  • africanwolf - 2011-11-07 10:16

    Can you imagine one of these cars as a taxi in the air :)

      Msika - 2011-11-07 11:12

      Can you magine a taxi driver flying one of these.

      Collen - 2011-11-07 11:36

      SANTAGO would do with such..lol..excellent reinvention for the taxi industry :) God answered Taxi drivers' prayers...lol

  • Marius - 2011-11-07 11:05

    Unfortunately just another toy for the rich....

  • Collen - 2011-11-07 11:34

    Accidents/collisions in the air, no survivors. No thanks. I'm ok with my smaller German road machine.

  • rvmoodley - 2011-11-07 12:18

    WOW WOW WOW WOW that is all that i can say to this amazing CARPLANE.

  • Eugene - 2011-11-07 12:18


  • dalediep - 2011-11-07 12:27

    It's gorgeous, but it would be nice if it could simply lift off out of the traffic should there be a snarl up, but one needs space for the wings to open!

  • prackermann - 2011-11-07 15:04

    This is cool, but I think a helicopter-car concept might work even better.

  • pages:
  • 1