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.
AOPA expressed concern in a meeting with town officials from East Hampton, New York, that restrictions proposed to curb airport noise “overwhelmingly” generated by transient commercial flights would unfairly burden traditional airport users.
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