Tag Archives: terrafugia

Flying cars just got FAA approval for testing

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Why drive a car (even if it’s autonomous) when you can fly one? That seems to be the question of the day at the Federal Aviation Administration, where test flights in U.S. airspace have just been approved. The celebrating party is none other than Terrafugia, a company that specializes in airborne vehicles. Its TF-X flying car will soon be whizzing around skies in northeast American for the purposes of further research and development. “It’s a significant milestone in the development of the program and we’re really excited to be moving forward,” Terrafugia spokesperson Dagny Dukach told R&D Magazine.

Terrafugia has been toying with the idea of flying cars for the last ten years or so, and their concept for the TF-X will feature semi-autonomous flight, meaning that you’d need less training to fly this car than you would to operate, say, an actual airplane. But there are still a number of issues that need to be worked out, including how the vehicle would be powered. Currently, the company plans for the TF-X to operate as a plug-in hybrid-electric, but exactly how this would come to fruition has yet to be determined.

If and when we do finally see the TF-X in real life, it will cruise at speeds of 200 miles per hour and will have a 500 mile flight range. And without any runway space needed for take off or landing, you could literally just lift off from your driveway.

So as excited as you are for self-driving cars to come to market, get even more pumped about the flying version.


Sadly, you won’t be able to jump in and take one of these cars to the skies anytime soon — the prototypes that have been cleared for flight are just mini versions of the real thing. Coming in at just two feet long and with a weight limit of 55 pounds, it will still be some time before we’re in Jetsons territory. Still, this latest development marks a huge step forward in the development of the technology, as Dukach: “The FAA exemption will allow Terrafugia to test the hovering capabilities of a one-tenth scale TF-X vehicle and gather flight characteristics data that will drive future design choices.”

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Next-generation flying car

Terrafugia unveils next-generation flying car

Published May 07, 2013


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It’s a flying car!
At least more than the last one was.

Terrafugia, creators of the Transition street-legal airplane, have unveiled their vision for the next generation of personal aircraft, the TF-X.

The TF-X is closer to being a direct replacement for the automobile than the Transition, which features retractable wings that allow it to be driven on public roads and is primarily intended for use as a conventional aircraft that takes off and lands from an airport runway.

It’s also a hybrid, in more ways than one.

Although it flies like a fixed-wing aircraft, the four-seat TF-X was designed to take off and land vertically with the help of collapsible, electrically-powered rotors mounted on the ends of its fold-up wings. They draw their energy from a battery pack of yet-to-be-determined size and chemistry that can either be charged via an electrical outlet, or by the gas turbine engine that powers a rear-mounted propeller when the TF-X is in flight.

On the ground, the TF-X is propelled by electric motors in the wheels that are also run off of the battery pack, or in series hybrid mode where the turbine generates electricity after the battery charge is depleted.

A pilot’s license will still be required to fly the TF-X, but Terrafugia says a five-hour training session is all it will take to learn how to operate the vehicle. However, the idea is that you won’t have to do much of the flying at all.

Thanks to the FAA’s NextGen program, which will require all aircraft to be equipped with satellite transponders sending their exact location to a centralized air traffic management system starting in 2020, the TF-X could be able to fly entirely by itself from takeoff to landing. The pilot will still be ultimately responsible for the operation of the vehicle, and can fly it manually, but shouldn’t need to do more than enter a destination into a navigation system, sit back and enjoy the ride.

A 500-mile range is planned along with a top speed of 200 mph, and a built-in parachute will bring it safely to the ground in the event of any major mechanical failures along the way.

But don’t plan to impress the neighbors by lifting off from your driveway just yet. Terrafugia says the powerful prop wash of the TF-X will require a clear 100-foot diameter zone for takeoffs and landings, which will likely need to be regulated like helicopter pads are today. Terrafugia envisions more of these being established by cities and towns with the advent of vehicles like the TF-X.

They’ll have plenty of time to sort it out. Terrafugia figures it’ll be 8 to 10 years before the TF-X makes it from the drawing board to the skies, and even the Transition is still a couple of years away from entering production. The company is aiming to start delivering the $279,000 vehicles in early 2015.

Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/leisure/2013/05/07/terrafugia-unveils-next-generation-flying-car/#ixzz2UvtwfInC

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