Gone are the days when flying cars were only matter of concepts in experimental projects of research labs or were possible in Harry Potter movies. A flying car, which can prove to be the new paradigm for future transportation, may soon become a reality in Britain and in the US skies.
Aviation experts are saying a flying car could be in regular use in Britain within five years after a model was formally approved by US authorities. The transition flying cars retailing for $227,000 could be on roads in a matter of months — and customers are already lining up to be the first to get their hands on one, its maker Terrafugia claims.
This flying car is a two-seater aircraft, which has a top speed of 115 mph, a range of 500 miles on a tank of fuel, is available to those with a light-aircraft license and requires just 20 hours training to fly.
More than 20 Britons have reportedly expressed interest in the new transport phenomenon – despite the carbon-fibre vehicle’s release date not set down until late 2012.
Without recent advances in flexible wing technology, the idea of a flying car technology would barely have got off the ground. New aerodynamic profiles and materials make it possible to lift a vehicle weighing 1,500lb and passengers without dangerous instability. The flying car is not only a serious aircraft but also a proper road machine, with acceleration to match your average sports car.
‘It’s like a little Transformer,’ said Terrafugia founder Carl Dietrich, referring to the children toys that were turned into a blockbuster movie franchise.
The next stage for Terrafugia is global domination, with the first stop outside the U.S. being Europe. “The bulk of the work has already been done in the U.S.,” said Jonathan Nicholson, of Britain’s Civil Aviation Authority. “Safety standards are very similar between there and Europe.“
Terrafugia Flying Cars [Video]
The two-seat plane (flying car) is made of carbon-fiber and aimed primarily at the U.S.’s 600-strong “fly-in” communities. It can lift off from almost any long straight road and, once in the air, has a top speed of 115 mph.
On landing, its wings fold up in 15 seconds, with power then routed to the rear wheels, giving it a top land speed of 62 mph and size dimensions equivalent to a large sedan.