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by Brett Davis

The Terrafugia Transition flying car has just passed US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration regulations, allowing it to be driven on the road.

Last year we reported the Transition had passed US Federal Aviation Administration rules which certified it to be flown in the skies as a Light Sports Aircraft. Now it has also passed design rules for the road, so the Terrafugia Transition is now unofficially the first fully certified flying car on the market.

The news comes after a notice was published in the Federal Register, which makes it the first road legal flying/driving to pass NHTSA regulations. The organisation took some things into consideration for the unique vehicle, such as the lack of laminated automotive safety glass as the windscreen.

Normally only this type of glass is allowed but the NHTSA recognised that the Transition needed to be lightweight, which glass is not, and that in the event of a bird colliding with the windscreen it would crack and/or shatter thus making it difficult for the pilot/driver to see through. An exemption allowed the Transition to use polycarbonate materials which are lighter in weight and can’t shatter.

The NHTSA also took into consideration the Transition needed to use heavier tyres than conventional road tyres since it would be landing on a frequent basis. Standard road tyres would not withstand the impact and the sudden speed of landing.

The Transition requires a 520 metres strip to take off over a 15m tall obstacle and is capable of cruising at around 200km/h. The unique craft also has a range of around 700km before it needs to land and refuel. Interestingly, the Transition apparently has an average fuel consumption of 7.8L/100km on the road.

The Terrafugia Transition is on sale with 100 orders reportedly taken. Terrafugia hasn’t mentioned a price yet but says it will be in the $250,000 region.




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