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.
Collaboration between the German government, academia, and airplane manufacturers may make future aircraft cabins more protective of pilots and passengers. The Safety Box team plans to apply auto racing technology to general aviation.
A father and his 14-year-old son were helping another pilot ferry a newly purchased aircraft from California to their home field in Virginia. The three made an overnight stop in Albuquerque before flying on to Illinois for fuel. But shortly after they parked the aircraft in Marion, Ill., they were approached by as many as 18 uniformed and non-uniformed law enforcement officers who came running toward the airplane.
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