4:42 PM

Roadable Aircraft
Hits the Road!

Those who read this blog frequently know I am one of the biggest fans of Terrafugia's completely awesome Transition. While others make waves in GA by designing bigger, faster, more luxurious VLJs, PJs and ELRBJs (expensive long-range business jets), the people working their slide rules overtime to build 'the next big thing' in GA are redefining what it means to be brilliant.

I truly believe there is no single aviation project being developed today that is more exciting than the Transition.

And if you have just stepped out from under your rock and have never heard of the Transition, I'll let the design team get you up to speed...from their website:

"The Terrafugia Transition® is a roadable Light Sport Aircraft designed by a team of award-winning MIT-trained engineers for today’s demanding general aviation pilot. Bring more flexibility and convenience to your flying. Keep your Transition® in your garage. Drive to your local airport, fly up to 400nm, land, convert, and drive directly to your destination. You’ll always be ready to drive or fly. Converting from road to flight mode requires a few simple commands in the cockpit and a normal pre-flight. Transform back to a street legal vehicle without having to leave your seat. Never let questionable weather cancel or endanger your trip again. Simply divert and continue on the ground until the weather clears. Designed to automotive crash safety standards, with an option for a full-vehicle parachute, Terrafugia’s commitment to safety is apparent in the Transition’s form as well as function."
Intrigued? Well, you should be, because this vehicle is a real game changer. It has ran into a fair amount of skepticism along it's path to production, including some who said before it never flies, it will never even be driven on roads. But the photo that accompanies this post – sent to me recently by the design team – proves without a doubt that (1) yes, it has been and can be driven on a highway, and (2) it looks vastly different than anything that has come before it, including the gray Infiniti in the photo. Sure, some might even say the Transition is pretty far out there in terms of accepted visual design, but did I mention that...it FLIES? Even a Lamborghini can't make that claim.

The other gripe I am sure the design team has heard is that it was hogwash that any roadable aircraft could ever be designed to fit into a standard garage. Wrongeroo again, dudes. The photo at top right clearly shows that the MIT design team has hit that mark too, as the vehicle easily slips into a standard single car garage.

If you absolutely HAVE to learn more about the Transition, visit with Terrafugia's leadership team November 6-8, 2008 at AOPA Expo in San Jose, CA. However, due to conflicts with it's power testing schedule, the "proof of concept" vehicle will not make the trip west.

And if you want to be part of the design process, Terrafugia is very interested in what you have to say about their project. There are two online surveys available that you can take that will ship your answers directly to the design team. Pilots can take their survey here, and non-pilots can take a survey here.

Of course, if you are an X-Plane® flyer, you don't need to wait until your Transition comes off the assembly line. Take a test drive/flight by downloading the simulated version here. I just flew it for the first time last night and yes, it is very cool.

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