21 November 2013

2013: We Can Buy a Ticket to Space, Watch Phone Callers on a Big Screen Like Star Trek... Now Flying Cars!

First deliveries of the Massachusetts-produced Terrafugia TF-X 
-a hybrid-powerd car/plane that can not just fly but do vertical takeoffs like an V-22 Osprey- begin in 2020... picture this:

Unlike earlier, more awkward/gangly prototypes (and a model available in 2015 called the 'Transition' -a gasoline powered car-plane that requires a runway) the newer Terrafugia TF-X brings a more polished, handsome design that does a good job of tucking-in the wings for terrestrial travel mode. It's the first car-plane design I've ever seen that looks resolved and not 'silly' on the road, and it's new vertical takeoff -without any runway whatsoever- is a huge improvement over other Terrafugias, which basically have to be driven to an airport. With this new one, you can just launch straight-up, right out of your front yard!

Interestingly, the company is also involved in trying to develop 
a 'flying Humvee' for the US Army.

Although they've bumped-up the price a couple times before production's even underway, the last word is that it's retailing for $279,000. The vehicle qualifies as a light sport aircraft, thus the pilot will be required to hold a Sport Pilot or higher certificate (20 hours of dual instruction/FAA oral and practical examination). 

Once you've obtained your license and purchased your Terrafugia, you can slap plates on it like any car and drive on all public streets. But when you feel it's time to fly, wings are deployed with rotor blades that turn upward for helicopter-like VTOL capability. Once airborne, you'll slowly turn them forward and get moving. The 300 hp hybrid powertrain then takes over, driving a large rear fan good for 200mph cruise with range of 400 nmi (740 km; 460 mi) on a single tank of regular unleaded gas...

You've come a long way, baby!

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