Friday, October 31, 2014

Flying Car

They are really gonna build one.  The Terrafugia Transition, a two seat light plane with folding wings that can be driven on the highway.  The company is in Woburn Massachusetts, just down the road from me. Mostly carbon fiber,  410 mile range with 30 minutes reserve fuel, 100 mph cruise speed.  Price is $279,000.  Which is a lot, you used to be able to buy a used two place Piper or Cessna for $10,0000.  They have 100 firm orders.  Tooling is going to cost $20-30 million, of which half has already been raised. 
   Regulations seem to be as big a hassle to this product than any real technical issues.  Only an easier route to FAA certification open to low power two place sports aircraft made the product possible.  Conventional FAA certification is so expensive, and would add so much heavy "safety" equipment as to kill the design.  After tangling with FAA regulations, they had to deal with highway regulations, which hassled them over the windshield among other things.  Bureaucrats wanted to make the windshield from safety glass rather than polycarbonate plastic. 
   I wish them luck. 

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