File this under “I have seen the future and it is now”. This flying car would be the stuff of fantasy, or folly, except for one thing, it is exists and can be ordered now.
Called the Transition, this car/plane (or is it plane/car??) is the brainchild of an MIT aerospace PhD Carl Dietrich and it has moved past the development phase in record time with him only conceiving of the idea in 2006.
As the Transition’s website explains,
Every pilot faces uncertain weather, rising costs, and ground transportation hassles on each end of the flight. The Transition® combines the unique convenience of being able to fold its wings with the ability to drive on any surface road in a modern personal airplane platform. Stowing the wings for road use and deploying them for flight at the airport is activated from inside the cockpit. This unique functionality addresses head-on the issues faced by today’s Private and Sport Pilots.
The plane can move at 100 kps which translates to 115 mph and has a range of 490 miles. That’s obviously when in flight mode. It is 80″ high, 90″ wide, and 18′ 9″ long. It’s wing span is 8′. Empty it weights 970 lbs and can carry 460lbs. And here is the really cool thing, when used on the road it gets 35 mpg!
The motor vehicle is rear wheel driven, can hold two adults sitting side by side and has cargo area for golf clubs. (I kid you not.). And, because it folds up to become a car it doesn’t need a hanger or a trailer.
So here’s what I think is so particularly cool about this flying car. Elana’s and my second date consisted of flying down to Cape May for the day with her parents in their Cessna. The day I first got golden retriever Maisy, my father-in-law and I took her to upstate New York so we could have lunch. In fact I got one of my favorite pictures of her that day.
Even though both my in-laws were instrument-rated, we only went flying when the weather looked clear. Their plane was for fun, not practical travel, because if the weather got too bad at the first stop they would wait for it to clear. With the Transition, there is no such concern. Get to your first stop and suddenly encounter bad weather all you have to do is fold up the wings and drive off.
Now THAT is cool.
More information on the Transition can be found here.