Terrafugia Transition

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia - View original article

Terrafugia -- 2012 NYIAS cropped.jpg
Production Prototype of Terrafugia Transition at the N.Y. Int'l Auto Show in April 2012
RoleLight-sport aircraft
First flightMarch 5, 2009[1]
IntroductionIn development since 2006, prototype unveiled in 2009
Number built2[2]
Unit cost
Jump to: navigation, search
Terrafugia -- 2012 NYIAS cropped.jpg
Production Prototype of Terrafugia Transition at the N.Y. Int'l Auto Show in April 2012
RoleLight-sport aircraft
First flightMarch 5, 2009[1]
IntroductionIn development since 2006, prototype unveiled in 2009
Number built2[2]
Unit cost

The Terrafugia Transition is a light sport, roadable airplane under development by Terrafugia since 2006.[4]

The Rotax 912ULS[5] piston engine powered, carbon-fiber vehicle is planned to have a flight range of 425 nmi (489 mi; 787 km) using either automotive premium grade unleaded gasoline or 100LL avgas and a cruising flight speed of 93 kn (107 mph; 172 km/h). Equipment includes a Dynon Skyview glass panel avionics system, an airframe parachute, and an optional autopilot.[6]

On the road, it can drive up to 70 miles per hour (110 km/h)[7] with normal traffic. The Transition Production Prototype's folded dimensions of 6 ft 8 in (2.03 m) high, 7 ft 6 in (2.29 m) wide and 18 ft 9 in (5.72 m) long are designed to fit within a standard household garage. When operated as a car, the engine power take-off near the propeller engages a variable-diameter pulley CVT automatic transmission to send power to the trailing-suspension mounted rear wheels via half-shafts powering belt drives.[8] In flight, the engine drives a pusher propeller. The Transition has folding wings, pusher propeller and twin tail.

Development milestones[edit]

The experimental Transition Proof of Concept's first flight in March 2009 was successful and took place at Plattsburgh International Airport in upstate New York using U.S. Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) tail number N302TF. First customer delivery, as of March 2009, was originally planned for 2011.[1][9][10]

On July 1, 2010 it was announced that the Terrafugia Transition had been granted an exemption from the FAA concerning its Maximum Takeoff Weight (MTOW) allowing the Transition to be certified with a take-off weight up to 1,430 pounds (650 kg); the limit matches the MTOW for amphibious light-sport aircraft.[11] The extra 110 pounds (50 kg) granted by the exemption provides more weight allowance for the mandatory road safety features such as airbags and bumpers.[11][12]

Oshkosh July 2008, Proof of Concept
Oshkosh July 2011, Production Prototype

The proposed design of the production version was made public at AirVenture Oshkosh on July 26, 2010.[13] Aerodynamic changes revealed included a new, optimized airfoil, Hoerner wingtips, and removal of the canard after it was found to have an adverse aerodynamic interaction with the front wheel suspension struts; furthermore, the multipurpose passenger vehicle classification from the NHTSA removed the requirement for a full width bumper that had inspired the original canard design.[14]

On November 16, 2010 the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) published Terrafugia's petition for a temporary, three-year hardship exemption from four FMVSS standards in the Transition. Terrafugia requested to use lighter weight motorcycle tires instead of RV tires, polycarbonate for the windshield and side windows, basic airbags instead of advanced, dual stage airbags and to not include an electronic stability control system.[15][16] The NHTSA granted all of the requested exemptions on June 29, 2011, but limited the stability control and airbag exemptions to one year.[17][18]

In June 2011, a delay was announced pushing initial customer deliveries to "late 2012".[19] December 2011 saw the base price increased to US$279,000.[3]

After undergoing drive tests and high-speed taxi tests, the production prototype completed its first flight on March 23, 2012 at the same airport in Plattsburgh, New York that was used for the Proof of Concept's flight testing.[16][20][21] The production prototype then made its auto show debut at the 2012 New York International Auto Show in April 2012.[22]

In June 2012, Terrafugia announced that the Transition had completed the first of six phases of flight testing.[23][24] By July, the second phase of testing was underway, expanding the performance envelope in the sky and continuing drive testing on the ground.[25]

In January 2013, development continued and the company announced that it might be necessary to construct a third, completely new prototype, due to the large number of modifications required. The modifications to date are said to appear to have improved the previous handling characteristics.[26]


Production Prototype with wings extended at New York Int'l Auto Show in April, 2012
Prototype with wings partially folded
Prototype with wings folded
Internal cockpit view

Data from Terrafugia Transition Proof of Concept specifications.[27][28][29] Terrafugia Transition 2010 specifications.[30]

General characteristics


Glass panel; the proof-of-concept airplane included:[34][35]

The production prototype uses a glass cockpit including:[6][36][37][38]


  1. ^ a b Haines, Thomas B. (19 March 2009). "First roadable airplane takes flight". Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA). Retrieved 2009-03-19. 
  2. ^ "FAA REGISTRY Make / Model Inquiry Results; Make/Model Code Entered: 05627LL". FAA Registry. FAA. March 7, 2014. Retrieved March 7, 2014. "As of March 2014 Terrafugia has registered:
    • N302TF (proof-of-concept, s/n D0001, Airworthiness 2008-12-01)
    • N304TF (design prototype, s/n D0002, A/W 2013-11-26)
    • N305TF (design prototype, s/n D0003, no engine or A/W date listed as of March 2014" 
  3. ^ a b Hussey, Matt (2011-12-31). "Wait no longer: the flying car is finally ready for takeoff". Wired.co.uk. Retrieved April 4, 2012. 
  4. ^ http://uk.cars.yahoo.com/30062010/36/flying-car-closer-reality-0.html
  5. ^ TERRAFUGIA presentation of Transition aircraft "The Transition", 5 march 2012
  6. ^ a b Dietrich, Anna Mracek (2011-08-11). "Transition Equipment List". web site. Terrafugia, Inc. Archived from the original on 2013-04-30. Retrieved April 20, 2012. 
  7. ^ a b Durbin, Dee-Ann (2012-04-02). "Flying car gets closer to reality with test flight". boston.com. Associated Press. Retrieved April 20, 2012. 
  8. ^ [1]
  9. ^ Phillips, Matt (March 18, 2009). "Flying Car Takes First Flight". The Middle Seat Terminal (The Wall St. Journal). Retrieved 2009-03-19. 
  10. ^ Mone, Gregory (October 2008). "The Driving Airplane Gets Real". Popular Science. pp. 42–48. Retrieved 2009-03-20. 
  11. ^ a b c "'Flying Car' Gets Big Break From FAA". CBS News. 2010-06-30. Retrieved 1 July 2010. 
  12. ^ "Exemption number 10072" (PDF). FAA. 2010-05-27. Retrieved 9 July 2010. 
  13. ^ ""Flying Car" Moves Closer to First Delivery". Terrafugia. 2010-07-26. Retrieved 27 July 2010. 
  14. ^ Fast Lane to Sky High, Ansys Fluid flow simulation software co-pilots design of production prototype roadable aircraft by Gregor Cadman, Engineer, Terrafugia, Woburn, MA, USA
  15. ^ National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (2010-11-16). Docket No. NHTSA–2010-0154. Terrafugia, Inc.; Receipt of Application for Temporary Exemption From Requirements for Tire Selection and Rims or Motor Vehicles FMVSS No. 110, Electronic Stability Control Systems FMVSS No. 126, Glazing Materials FMVSS No. 205, and Occupant Crash Protection FMVSS No. 208 (PDF) 75 (220). U.S. GPO. 
  16. ^ a b Max Trescott (2010-11-18). "Terrafugia Roadable Aircraft Moves Closer to Reality". Experimental Aircraft Association. 
  17. ^ Department of Transportation National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (2011-06-29). "Terrafugia, Inc.; Grant of Application for Temporary Exemption From Certain Requirements of FMVSS No. 110, Tire Selection and Rims for Motor Vehicles, FMVSS No. 126, Electronic Stability Control Systems, FMVSS No. 205, Glazing Materials, and FMVSS No. 208, Occupant Crash Protection". Federal Register 76 (125): 38270–38279. 76 FR 38270. Retrieved 30 June 2011. "Docket No. NHTSA-2010-0154, summary of section "F. Decision" allowing:
    • Use of lighter weight but equally safe motorcycle tires instead of RV tires. (three year exemption from FMVSS No. 110, S4.1 and S4.4)
    • Not including an electronic stability control system because of its weight and potential to become a single point of failure that might unintentionally throttle back the engine in flight. (one year exemption from FMVSS No. 126)
    • Use of lighter and stronger, but less scratch resistant, polycarbonate for the windshield and side windows in place of glass to more safely withstand bird strikes. (three year exemption from FMVSS No. 205, S5)
    • Use of a single-stage air bag instead of an advanced, dual-stage air bag (one year exemption from FMVSS No. 208, S14 apart from S14.5.1(a))" 
  18. ^ Page, Lewis, "Terrafugia flying car gets road-safety exemptions", The Register, 4 July 2011; retrieved 11 July 2011.
  19. ^ Dietrich, Carl. "CEO, Terrafugia". Terrafugia. Retrieved 30 June 2011. 
  20. ^ "First Flight for Terrafugia". Retrieved 2 April 2012. 
  21. ^ "Major Milestone takes "Flying Car" Closer to First Delivery". terrafugia.com. April 2, 2012. Retrieved April 2, 2012. 
  22. ^ Welsh, Jonathan (April 5, 2012). "Flying Car Maker Offers ‘Show Special’ Discount". Driver's Seat. Wall St. Journal. Retrieved 2012-07-30. 
  23. ^ "Phase 1 Flight Testing a Success for Transition Street-Legal Airplane". Terrafugia. Retrieved 28 June 2012. 
  24. ^ Jonathan Welsh (28 June 2012). "‘Flying Car’ Completes First Round of Flight Tests". wsj.com. Retrieved 1 July 2012. 
  25. ^ "Terrafugia’s Transition street-legal airplane continues flight and drive testing". Terrafugia. Retrieved 30 July 2012. 
  26. ^ Niles, Russ (22 January 2013). "Third Version Of Terrafugia Transition?". AVweb. Retrieved 24 January 2013. 
  27. ^ Dietrich, Anna Mracek (2009-03-16). "TransitionSpecs-FirstFlight-200". Terrafugia. Retrieved 2009-04-02. 
  28. ^ "Terrafugia - Transition the Roadable Light Sport Aircraft : The Vehicle". Terrafugia. 2008. Retrieved 2009-03-25. 
  29. ^ Haines, Thomas B. (May 2009). "Waypoints: From highway to airway". AOPA. Retrieved 2009-05-10. 
  30. ^ "Terrafugia -Transition the Roadable Light Sport Aircraft : The Vehicle". Terrafugia. 2010-07-26. Retrieved 2010-07-27. 
  31. ^ "Prince Aircraft Company - Who We Build For". Prince Aircraft Company. Retrieved 2009-03-28. 
  32. ^ Ryan, David L. (2009-03-18). "'Flying car' at the Museum of Science". Boston.com (The Boston Globe). Retrieved 2009-03-28. 
  33. ^ "New York 2012: Terrafugia Transition Takes Flight". Automobile Magazine. April 5, 2012. Retrieved April 6, 2012. 
  34. ^ "Photo of Transition cockpit at Oshkosh 2008". 2008-07-28. Retrieved 2009-03-26. 
  35. ^ Ward, Jeff (flickr id: Scofreyjet) (2009-09-13). "Photo of Transition cockpit at EAA106 Light Sport Expo". Retrieved 2011-08-02. 
  36. ^ A Cockpit View of Suburban Driving. TerrafugiaInc. 2012-03-12. 
  37. ^ "Dynon in Terrafugia". Dynon Avionics Official Blog. Dynon Avionics. April 4, 2012. Retrieved April 5, 2012. 
  38. ^ "Transition Interior 2011 - High resolution graphic rendering". Terrafugia press images. Terrafugia, Inc. 2011-06-17. Archived from the original on 2011-06-23. Retrieved April 5, 2012. "Reference to the image www.terrafugia.com/press/photos/TransitionNextGen/GraphicRendersHIRES/TransitionInterior-2011.jpg photos/TransitionNextGen/GraphicRendersHIRES/TransitionInterior-2011.jpg" 

External links[edit]