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Yes to flying cars, says U.S. Department of Transportation (video)

July 6, 2011 - 03:22 PM
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The future is now. (Photo: Courtesy of Terrafugia)

Cars may be wonderful, quintessentially American vehicles, but they're just so grounded, aren't they? One company hopes to change that.

Terrafugia's proposed line of Transition vehicles would double as both a car, suitable for driving on our nation's roads, and as a private plane, capable of soaring through the skies. Terrafugia, founded in 2006 and based out of Massachusetts, wants you to experience this dual freedom. The 1,430-pound Transition functions as a car when on the street (at 35 miles/gallon for a 23-gallon tank), and when you're ready for your getaway, just extend the wings and go.

This summer, the government has, in a rare move, granted the flying-car company special exemptions that it requires in order to move forward with their special brand of ride (PDF). Terrafugia can now freely manufacture their Transition vehicles with a lighter protective windshield and tires better suited to both the road as well as the sky. Current manufacturing standards would have inhabited the Transition's ability to easily leave the ground and carry out the dual role. We won't be seeing flying cars soar in 2011, but this sign does make the future possibility much more likely than a month ago. The quixotic, awesome dream, imagined and never reached by other companies before, lives on.

You can reserve your Transition plane now for a deposit of $10,000. The site says that around 100 have been reserved so far to the tune of around $25 million, given the final and full price is predicted to be around $250,000. Yes, a little steep. But if you're wealthy enough to afford any wild James Bond-esque invention like this, you'll at least be guaranteed some outrageous cool points. And don't worry, rich pilots —the Terrafugia website assures us that "cargo area holds golf clubs." Whew.

The future is now, people. Terrafugia says the first delivery should be around late 2012. Can you imagine these filling the D.C. skies? Let's just hope they're quieter than the planes flying into Reagan. Here's how the flying car would look in your driveway, as imagined by Terrafugia:

Chocolate strawberries
Home sweet home in a universe where flying cars exist.(Photo: Courtesy of Terrafugia)
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