The new drive-fly experience

Lisa Kuok

The flying car could be here as soon as 2015. Made by Terrafugia, the vehicle is called Transition and is part saloon, part private jet with two seats, has four wheels and wings that fold up - so it can be driven like a car.

The Massachusetts-based company last year successfully flew the Transition for 8 minutes at 1400 feet. Commercial jets fly at 35,000 feet.

Terrafugia says that owners must have a pilot's licence and will need to pass 20 hours of flying time before being allowed to fly the car which requires a runway to take off. To remove the need for a runway, the company is working on the TF-X which can take off from a vertical position because of motorised rotors on its wings. These rotors will work in a similar way to helicopter rotors.

Being able to take off from standstill means owners will be able to go from the road to the air straight from their driveways, car parks and even when stuck in traffic. Although at least 100 30m in diameter is needed in order to open the wings. The TF-X is still in its conceptual phase and has not been tested yet.


The Transition can reach speeds of around 112km/h on the road and 185km/h in the air.

It flies using a 87-litre tank of petrol and burns 19-litre per hour in the air. On the ground, it gets 14.8km/L . In the air it has a range of 805km. It has rear-wheel drive when on the road.

The Transition also comes with two passenger airbags, and a full-vehicle parachute and is expected to cost around US$300,000.