There might be an end in sight to all the “flying car” jokes in pop culture- the FAA has granted some regulatory leeway to the MIT engineers working on the aptly named Terrafugia Transition.
The part car, part plane seems to be a much cooler “hybrid” car, because your Prius isn’t going to sprout wings and lift up over midtown Manhattan, is it? Like a hybrid, the Terrafugia Transition gets decent gas mileage when it’s a car, at around 30 mpg. It also has safety features like crumple zones and airbags, and clears a top speed of 115 mph when airborne. You only need 1/3 of a mile to take off in it, and it will fit in most garages, too. Even the price isn’t that bad for a fricking half car half plane, clocking in at just under 200K clams, or $194,000.
The innovative invention got a nod of approval from the FAA recently, so the days of being cut off by a dude in a planecar on the freeway may not be that far off:
…the FAA has just awarded the Terrafugia Transition an exemption which will allow the 1,440-pound car/aircraft hybrid to fly under a “light sport” designation, even though it hits the scales at a hefty 120 lbs. more than the rules allow. A light sport pilot license only requires 20 hours of seat time – far less than what a full license would demand.