The biggest attraction at this year’s New York International Auto Show isn’t an automobile at all. Technically, it’s a "roadable aircraft." Sometimes it’s called a street-legal airplane. Whatever you call it, Terrafugia’s Transition is a vehicle that lives in between strict definitions. And at an otherwise unremarkable showcase of the latest model year automobiles and newest concept cars, the Transition is the star of the show.
Peep this new roadable aircraft, the last creation of legendary aerospace designer Burt Rutan. Scaled Composites unveiled their new flying car to Aviation Week this week.
The Model 367 BiPod is a dual-fuselage, hybrid electric car-plane, which engineers at Scaled took from a preliminary design to first flight in just four months. It made its maiden trip March 30, just before Rutan’s official retirement.
For Terrafugia, the long road to making its “roadable aircraft” a commercial reality hasn’t been exactly straight, but the company keeps on rolling forward. Its Transition aircraft just received a few special exemptions from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration that further clear the way for first deliveries of the vehicle, which are now slated for late next year.
Flying cars may seem to keep receding into that deliciously-imagined future, but this, one of the earliest prototypes, hails from 1934. It is now slated to go up on the auction block in Atlanta this coming weekend, according to Wired's Autopia.
Five amazing, clean technologies that will set us free, in this month's energy-focused issue. Also: how to build a better bomb detector, the robotic toys that are raising your children, a human catapult, the world's smallest arcade, and much more.