Flying-car enthusiasts are justified in their pessimism: For the past hundred years or so, they've repeatedly been promised that a future with a personal aircraft in every garage is just around the corner, only to have their high-flying dreams cruelly smacked down with words like "safety" and "physics."
But now, after so many years of empty promises and false hopes...here are some more: The Federal Aviation Administration has finally given approval to the Terrafugia's Transistion, a flying car – or "roadable aircraft" as the company likes to call it – that will soon have us all living like the Jetsons. Honest.
According to Terrafugia's website, the Transition's rear propeller gives it a cruising speed of 115 m.p.h., and it's 20 gallon tank - which takes regular unleaded gas – gives it a range of 460 miles. On the ground, the vehicle's gas mileage is a not-too-shabby 30 miles per gallon. The anticipated purchase price is $194,000, just slightly more than the cost of a new iPad (the gold-plated kind).
Approval from the FAA was delayed because of the Transition's weight. As Wired notes, the vehicle's 1,430 lb. curb weight was 110 pounds over the legal limit for a Light Sport Aircraft, the kind that requires only 20 hours of practice before they hand you a license. But the FAA has now granted a dispensation to the Transition, meaning that it will still be able to carry safety features like airbags and crumple zones.
The tech blog DVICE is skeptical. "Think of how much quicker you'll be able to pick up the kids from school with this thing!" writes Adam Frucci. "And how much more likely you'll be to crash into the top of a house on the way home!"
But hey, at least it will have airbags.