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by Matt Brogan

The Terrafugia Transition, whose terror reference makes its name less than ideal, has nonetheless made history today with its first flight of a saleable flying car.

Terrafugia describes its Transition vehicle as a “roadable aircraft” and is pitching it in part as giving private pilots an easy travel alternative when bad weather makes flying a no-no, or simply to avoid having to take a separate car to the airport.

The maiden voyage (duration not specified) took place at the Plattsburgh International Airport in New York, with a retired US Air Force Reserve colonel in the pilot’s seat. The flight followed six months of static, road, and taxi testing.

As a car, the Transition two-seater is designed to be easy on garages and oncoming traffic with foldable wings and runs on regular unleaded fuel.

Cruising speeds of 185km/h are possible, though only once airborne. Expect about 115km/h on the road.

While development still has some way to go, the vehicle is proof the concept has merit with Terrafugia saying it will have its first customer delivery ready for 2011.




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