Terrafugia has received an examption from the FAA to be classified as a "light sport aircraft" even though it is 110 pounds over the required takeoff weight for the classification.
The Terrafugia Transition, as the model is known, hits the scales at 1,430 pounds max. If the waiver had not been granted, buyers would have been required to have more flying time before they could get behind the wheel, er, stick, er, whatever.
The extra weight was built in to take care of the airbags, crumple zones and other safety requirements of modern cars. The flying car is actually safer than other private aircraft, the company argues, because it gives pilots the option of driving, rather than flying, to a destination in bad weather.
Flight tests are expected to start next spring, Vice President Sam Schweighart tell Drive On, and deliveries could begin by the end of 2011. The "roadable plane" fits in home garages, run on either high-octane gas or aviation fuel, gets 30 to 35 miles a gallon on the ground and 5 gallons an hour in the air and has a range of 460 miles, the Associated Press says. It cruises at 115 miles per hour -- in the air. (usatoday.com)