Flying car gets regulatory clearance from NHTSA

Terrafugia Transition

Fully functional flying cars are not news to us as we’ve seen a number of individuals construct their own with very limited success. But just as electric cars and hydrogen fuel cells are becoming more of a reality, flying cars are equally making a change from dream to reality.

Massachusetts-based company, Terrafugia, has just unveiled its “roadable aircraft” called the Transition.

Now, one of the most difficult challenges to producing flying cars is somehow finding a balance between the strict safety guidelines of both the FAA and the NHTSA. But with Terrafugia and their Transition, it seems that balance has been found.

Firstly, the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration has just made the Transition exempt from several rules. For instance, the Transition can use plastic windows instead of the mandatory automotive safety glass. This is due to the fact that the glass adds too much weight to the Transition and if a fracture were to occur, would make visibility very difficult. Additionally, the plastic windows provide better protection from flying fowl.

The Transition is also allowed to use tires that aren’t usually allowed on multipurpose vehicles. They are designed to handle the stress of landings while being rated for highway speeds.

On the otherside of legalities, the Federal Aviation Administration allows Terrafugia to weigh 110s more than the weight classification limit for the light-sport-aircraft segment.

Deliveries for the Terrafugia Transition were meant to start later this year but have been delayed until 2012.

Terrafugia Transition Roadable Aircraft Proof of Concept:

– By: Chris Chin

Source: AutoWeek