Terrafugia announced July 17 that the Transition street-legal light sport aircraft (known to some as a flying car) will reach the market in 2019 after more than a decade in development.
The Woburn, Massachusetts-based company founded by graduates of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology has been working on the Transition since 2006, an effort accelerated in 2017 after the company was purchased by Zhejiang Geely Holding Group of China, a firm that owns several established automotive brands. A July 17 press release detailed new features added to the Transition, including a hybrid-electric powerplant with a “boost” feature that allows the pilot to call on a brief burst of extra power in flight.
The first production vehicles will be delivered in 2019, the company pledged.
“Developing this new technology has allowed us to test several different mechanisms and generate process improvements along the way,” said Terrafugia CEO Chris Jaran, in the news release. “We are at the critical point where we can implement the best design features based on years of flight and drive testing. This will improve function, safety and aesthetics for the optimal flying and driving experience.”
Terrafugia secured FAA approval (with AOPA’s support) to increase the maximum weight of the light-sport Transition to 1,800 pounds in 2016. The company is also working on a vertical takeoff and landing concept first dubbed TF-X and now called TF-2 that will enter an increasingly crowded field racing to provide flying taxis and personal air transportation for the future.
The company secured FAA approval to operate an unmanned, scaled-down version of the TF-X in 2015, which may help explain why visitors to EAA AirVenture in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, July 23 through 29, will find the Transition on display in the UAV Tent in Aviation Gateway Park.