UNDERNEWS

Undernews is the online report of the Progressive Review, edited by Sam Smith, who has covered Washington during all or part of one quarter of America's presidencies and edited alternative journals since 1964. The Review has been on the web since 1995. See main page for full contents

March 23, 2009

AUTO PLANE IN THE WORKS


MSNBC - Terrafugia's Transition is part-car, part-airplane. . . The vehicle successfully completed its first test flight earlier this month, the company announced.

The flight was short -- just 37 seconds -- and right over the runway, but as Anna Mracek Dietrich, a Terrafugia co-founder and its chief operating officer, pointed out, flying wasn't the key goal

"The first flight is great, but first landing is what matters," she told Discovery News.

That apparently went well too, according to Phil Mateer, a retired Air Force test pilot . . . "The flight was remarkably unremarkable," Mateer said. . .

The goal is to create an airplane that can be driven to and from a runway and parked in the family garage at night. Transition runs on regular unleaded gasoline and can travel up to 500 miles on a single tank of gas. It takes less than 30 seconds for the vehicle's wings to fold up or extend to transform from plane to car or vice-versa.

The company plans to begin selling the vehicles, which cost $194,000, in 2010, said Richard Gersh, Terrafugia's vice president of business development. The company has taken deposits for 40 vehicles already, Deitrich said.

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