Terrafugia achieved widespread publicity after its first aircraft in 2009; the fixed-wing Terrafugia Transition is “the world’s first practical flying car” and the company is now ramping up for production in 2019.
In May 2013, Terrafugia unveiled its vision for a four-seat vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) plug-in hybrid-electric flying car, calling it the TF-X. The company revised the outer mold line (OML) in July 2015, steering the design away from the “open-grill” appearance of the Transition; a one-tenth scale wind tunnel test model of the TF-X, based on the new OML, was displayed that month at AirVenture in Oshkosh, Wisconsin.
In late 2015, Terrafugia received a Section 333 exemption from the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to begin to flight test a one-tenth scale TF-X vehicle (approximately 2 ft, or 60 cm, long). An exemption from the FAA was necessary at that time in order to conduct commercial research and development flying a small unmanned aircraft system (sUAS). In February 2016, Terrafugia announced that it had completed static load testing of one-tenth scale carbon fiber wings.
The original concept, the TF-X, was a hybrid-electric tilt propeller “flying car.” For high-speed forward flight, the TF-X would fold back the blades and tuck the wings and propellers into the sides of the fuselage, using a large ducted fan at the rear for thrust. The company noted at the time that "Terrafugia’s vision for the future is the TF-X: a mass-market flying car with the potential to revolutionize the way we all get around. An all-electric vehicle with vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) capabilities and computer-controlled flight, the TF-X is the flying car of the future. Terrafugia’s product development roadmap lays the groundwork for achieving this vision through a series of realistic steps over the coming decades."
Aircraft type: Hybrid-electric VTOL and road vehicle
Capacity: 4 passengers
Cruise Speed: 200 mph (320 km/h)
Range: 500 miles (800 km)
Takeoff and Landing: The TF-X™ will be able to take off and land vertically from a level clearing of at least 100 feet (30 meters) in diameter.
Engine Fuel: Unleaded automotive gasoline
Electric Motor Pods: 1 MW of power
Dimensions: The TF-X™ will fit in a single car garage or standard parking space.
Certification: Flying the TF-X™ will require substantially less training time than a traditional pilot’s license or sport pilot certificate. Driving the TF-X™ will require a standard US driver’s license.
Pricing: The price will be consistent with high-end luxury cars. More specific pricing information will become available as we progress in the development of the TF-X™ program.
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