Ready to go: The Terrafugia Transition has finally been declared road legal, and it could be in U.S. garages as early as next year. It was first developed in 2009, but has faced years of hold-ups
It’s been cleared to take to the skies for more than a year – but that’s not much use when you’re supposed to be able to drive it, too.
But now the flying car has at least been declared officially road legal.
It means the Terrafugia Transition could be in U.S. garages as early as next autumn, after two years of delays.
It may not be the world’s first flying car, but its makers say it is the first to have wings that fold up automatically at the push of a button.
It costs $200,000 – about the same price as a Ferrari – and can be reserved online for what Terrafugia describes as a ‘modest’ $10,000 deposit.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has officially announced the Transition, called a ‘roadable aircraft’ by its makers, can now be legally driven on America’s roads.
It granted the vehicle special dispensations, which allow it to use airplane-style plastic windows instead of the safety glass usually used in cars, as it would be too heavy.
Innovative: The Transition 'roadable aircraft' costs $200,000, and can be reserved for a $10,000 deposit
Ready for lift-off: It takes just 30 seconds for the Transition to convert from a car into a plane
The polycarbonate windscreens can withstand the impact of birds, so they won’t fracture.
The administration has also granted Terrafugia permission to use heavier-grade tyres, which are not normally allowed on multi-purpose vehicles.
It’s the second hurdle the Transition had to overcome before it could go on sale, after the Federal Aviation Administration ruled last year it could fly with its current weight, 110lbs over the normal legal limit for light sport aircraft category.
Terrafugia had originally hoped to deliver its first production vehicles as early as this year, but after problems with suppliers it has had to delay the release date to late 2012.