There is a positive trend brewing over at Terrafugia, designers of the Transition, the drivable airplane that I believe represents the most exciting aviation project out there right now. The trend is that each time you visit their web site, you discover more good news.
I have nothing but admiration for the group of MIT graduate students who are designing the Transition and are bringing the plane/car to market. From the day I discovered this project and the people behind it, I have felt strongly they will succeed...big time. The concept of their roadable airplane is phenomenal, it's priced right, and as I have always said privately and publicly, with the proper marketing campaign, they will not be able to produce units fast enough because they'll be busy making continuous trips to the bank to deposit large sacks of cash.
Not wanting to say I told anyone so, it seems my predictions that the Transition will become the major-league aviation hit of this decade are proving to be true. From their website:
Terrafugia is pleased to announce that all of our anticipated delivery capability for 2009 has been reserved, and projected 2010 deliveries are beginning to be filled.I should have jumped in when I had the chance last summer back in Oshkosh.
I get real pleasure out of watching this young, brilliant group meet all the required benchmarks as they work towards rollout of Transition. And now it appears the mainstream media is beginning to fall in love with Terrafugia too:
Back on February 26th, Terrafugia's Samuel Schweighart and Anna Mracek Dietrich were featured on the local Fox TV affiliate in Boston. The segment, found here, is one of the finest examples of aviation reporting from a mainstream outlet I have seen in years. The Fox reporter makes no cumbersome judgements and even more importantly, avoids factual mistakes.Team Terrafugia is also not afraid to put their work out there for peer review either:
Terrafugia announced the successful completion of the full-vehicle prototype Preliminary Design Review, held at MIT’s Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics. In attendance were roughly twenty aviation and automotive experts, including certified A&P mechanics, Certified Flight Instructors (CFIs), MIT aerodynamicists and vehicle designers, composite construction experts, and other industry experts with experience at companies such as Lockwood Aviation, Raytheon and McDonnell Douglas. Holding this review is part of the effort of Terrafugia’s engineering team to ensure that the Transition is not being designed in a vacuum.Good for them. So while some aviation companies struggle to keep moving forward, Terrafugia has a different problem. With so much going for them, keeping egos in check and prevent spontaneous head explosions will be key. When I met this group back in Cheese Country last summer, I was impressed with their focus and determination. They oozed confidence, as if they knew their project would flourish and become a wild success.
No critical problems were identified during the review,and the hardware development process has been initiated.
I want one. Bad.