Flying Car Cleared for Takeoff

With FAA clearance, Terrafugia readies production for its 'roadable aircraft.'

Imagine an airplane so small it can drive easily on a highway. Pipe dream? It might not be so far-fetched. Terrafugia Inc., a Massachusetts company, has targeted delivery of its flying car to customers by late 2011.

The company, which was founded five years ago by MIT graduates, recently received approval of the Federal Aviation Administration for a special weight limit exemption to what the company calls its "roadable aircraft," called the Transition.

The FAA clearance allows a maximum takeoff weight of 1,430 pounds, the same allowance made for aircraft designed to operate on water.

The Transition completed its first successful flight in March, following six months of road testing.

With a price tag of $148,000, the two-seater will require drivers to have sport pilot certificate. The Transition, which runs on unleaded gasoline and features foldable wings, is designed to take off and land at small, local airports and to drive on virtually any road.

The vehicle travels up to 450 miles, can fly at 115 mph and is small enough to fit into a standard household garage.

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