Terrafugia plane/car receives FAA weight exemption

FAA allows Terrafugia's Transition Roadable Aircraft extra weight for compliance with Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards, which are not found in other Light Sport Aircraft.

Terrafugia Inc. (Woburn, Mass., USA), developer of the composites-intensive Transition Roadable Aircraft, or "Flying Car," reports that it has received an exemption from the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to allow the Transition a maximum takeoff weight (MTOW) of 1,430 lb/650 kg. This additional weight accommodates the structure and equipment necessary for compliance with the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (FMVSS) which are not found in other Light Sport Aircraft. Items such as airbags, an energy-absorbing crumple zone and a protective safety cage will increase safety both on the road and in the air. Exclusively applicable to the Transition, the FAA's grant of an additional 110 lb/50 kg will allow a competitive useful load while providing a revolutionary level of crash safety in a Light Sport Aircraft.

By giving pilots a convenient ground transportation option, the Transition is designed to reduce the cost, inconvenience and weather sensitivity of personal aviation. In addition to the enhanced protection afforded by applying automotive crash safety technology to light planes, the Transition reduces the potential for an accident by allowing pilots to drive under bad weather instead of potentially flying into marginal conditions.

Classified as a Light Sport Aircraft, the Transition requires a Sport Pilot certificate to fly and is designed to drive on public roadways and park in a standard garage. Terrafugia successfully completed flight and drive testing of its Proof of Concept Transition  in 2009. Refundable airframe reservations are being accepted with first delivery scheduled for late 2011.

Computer graphics of the production prototype design will be unveiled at a press conference at 10:30 a.m. on July 26, 2010, at Terrafugia's exhibit at EAA AirVenture in Oshkosh, Wis., USA