Terrafugia takes testing space

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Terrafugia will be moving into hanger space at Nashua airport in New Hampshire to test and produce its new ‘flying car’ prototype.

The combined automobile and aircraft ‘Transition’ complies both with US airspace and with highway regulations. Unlike many other ‘flying car’ prototypes, the Transition is a short take-off and landing (STOL) vehicle that requires a runway to take off as opposed to taking off vertically.

The Massachusetts start-up expects to start full-scale production of the STOL in 2019.

Chris Jaran, CEO of Terrafugia, said: “It is enough space for us to do all of our testing for the Transition flying car and to accommodate the first couple of years of production. As the years move on and we build more aircraft, there is an ability for us to expand there.”

The Transition features two seats and has a planned flight range of 425 nautical miles at a cruising speed of 93 knots. It can drive at up to 70 mph on the road to keep up with normal road traffic.

Terrafugia has produced two flying prototypes of the Transition. The final production model will include a hybrid-electric motor, a boost feature, upgraded interiors, and updated safety features.

The company will also be partnering with new suppliers to design the STOL’s parachutes and avionics. Dynon will be supplying the new avionics for the production model and BRS will be providing a fail-safe parachute system.

The Transition was designed from its inception to comply with current FAA and National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) standards, meaning it avoids the regulatory trap that many VTOL projects have run into where new regulations need to be developed before a new aircraft hits the market.

Terrafugia is also developing a VTOL named the TF-2 -- a fully-autonomous VTOL designed for PART 135 charter operations. The aircraft concept was revealed shortly after Terrafugia was acquired last November by Zhejiang Geely Holding Group – an automotive manufacturing company which owns Lotus and Volvo.