Second-generation Transition plane/car makes first flight

Terrafugia's Transition Street-Legal Airplane is much closer to commercial reality after a successful first flight in New York. The Transition is a two-seat personal aircraft capable of driving on roads and highways as well as flying.

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The Transition, a street-legal car/airplane hybrid designed and developed by Terrafugia (Woburn, Mass.), completed its first flight at Plattsburgh International Airport in Plattsburgh, N.Y. on March 23. The same vehicle also has successfully completed initial drive and conversion testing, demonstrating its capability on roads and highways and in the air. The two-seater can be parked in a single-car garage, and flies on ordinary unleaded automotive fuel.

The aircraft reached an altitude of 1,400 ft/427m above the ground and flew for eight minutes, staying in the vicinity of Plattsburgh International Airport. The flight demonstrated the plane’s controllability and safe operational characteristics. Six phases of flight testing are planned to continue development.

“The successful first flight of this production prototype marks a critical move toward initial production and first delivery,” says Terrafugia’s COO Anna Mracek Dietrich. The production prototype program includes two vehicles and six phases of testing that will develop and inform the manufacturing tool-up and compliance program and demonstrate compliance with Light Sport Aircraft standards — both necessary steps in preparation for first delivery, expected within the next year.

Terrafugia CEO and cofounder Carl Dietrich says, “The first flight has demonstrated ... the challenges of bringing a practical, street-legal airplane to market can be overcome.”