June 10, 2011
By Alton K. Marsh
Terrafugia, the Woburn, Mass., company building a roadable aircraft, has indicated the first test flight of its production prototype called Transition should not be expected prior to March 2012. The earliest delivery date is now late 2012.
The company’s proposed flight demonstration at EAA AirVenture 2011 has been postponed, but the company hopes to have the vehicle on static display. It will also provide information on progress so far. The flight had been highly anticipated.
“We have encountered a number of the challenges that are common in aircraft development programs, including problems with third party suppliers,” said CEO Carl Dietrich. “The good news is that our team has done a fantastic job of minimizing the impact of these problems, and we continue to work through the issues. However, we have been forced to adjust our expected roll-out schedule in light of these challenges.”
The company displayed a proof-of-concept vehicle at Oshkosh in 2008. The vehicle presents a difficult engineering problem; it must meet highway crashworthiness standards and yet be light enough to fly. It will be flown under light sport aircraft rules.
Dietrich noted much progress has been made. The company has a contract from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, and has attracted new investment that allowed the staff to double from 12 to 24.
AOPA Pilot Senior Editor Alton Marsh has been a pilot since 1970 and has an airline transport pilot certificate and instrument and multiengine flight instructor certificates, aerobatic training, and a commercial seaplane certificate.
The Flying Physicians Association (FPA) has become the latest group to lend support to third-class medical reform and urge government officials to speed up their review of the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM). The NPRM would expand the number of pilots who could fly without needing to obtain a third-class medical certificate, a standard that has been successfully used by sport pilots for a decade.
California pilot Christopher Braun has created a revamped version of the cleco plier that is said to be lighter and more ergonomic.
There is no shortage of pilots in eastern Washington, but there does seem to be a scarcity of clubs in that part of the country.
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