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Flying car a 'step closer': US firm

04 april 2012, 11:56
Photo courtesy of gadgetgizmoo.com
Photo courtesy of gadgetgizmoo.com
Drivers hoping to slip the surly -- and traffic congested -- bonds of Earth moved a step closer to realizing their dream Monday, as a US firm announced the successful test flight of a street-legal airplane, AFP reports.

Massachusetts based firm Terrafugia said their production prototype "Transition" car-plane had successfully carried out an eight-minute test flight, clearing the way for it to hit the market within a year.

"With this flight, the team demonstrated an ability to accomplish what had been called an impossible dream," said founder Carl Dietrich.

Terrafugia argues that the "Transition" offers unparalleled freedom of movement, with a range of 490 miles (787 kilometers) and without the need to check bags.

Spanning 90 inches (2.3m) as a car, it fits into a normal-sized garage, before unfurling a 26'6" (8m) wingspan.

To take advantage, would-be owners will need to have both a driver's and pilot's license -- with a minimum of 20 hours of flying time.

The craft needs 2,500 feet (762 meters) of runway for takeoff, meaning pulling onto the shoulder and escaping the traffic is not really an option.

While many companies have tried to market an aerocar, none have succeeded in producing more than a handful of models.

"The Transition Street-Legal Airplane is now a significant step closer to being a commercial reality," the company said.

The two-seater craft costs around $279,000 and some 100 vehicles have already been ordered.

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