Thursday, July 1, 2010

Now For the Jetpacks

Those of us of a 'certain age' can recall the fantastic future technologies that we were promised as children. Well, behold, the flying car is finally here:

A highway-worthy airplane moves one step closer to production with a recent weight exemption approved by the Federal Aviation Administration.

The Transition Roadable Aircraft, developed by Massachusetts-based engineering firm Terrafugia, will be allowed a maximum takeoff weight of 1,430 pounds, the same allowance made for aircraft designed to operate on water.

Going from plane to car "takes about the same amount of time as putting down your convertible top," and the transition takes place from inside the cockpit. After landing, a cockpit-operated system folds up the wings, and the pilot can drive away.

Transition is designed for trips of up to about 450 miles and can travel about 100 miles per hour in the air and "highway speeds" on the ground of "65, 70, [miles per hour] -- something like that," Dietrich said.

"We're really not pushing the performance as an automobile because it is really designed to be used as an airplane that has this additional capability," she said.

"Functionally, it's a lot closer to an airplane than it would be to your car."

The price is more in line with aircraft as well; Terrafugia anticipates the Transition will cost $194,000. The first delivery will occur in about 18 months, Dietrich said.

Actually, technology has done pretty well compared to science fiction. Just compare the Star Trek communicator to your current phone.

But I still want jetpacks, dammit!

1 comment:

Suzanne said...

i would buy one if it folded up like the george jetson car/plane did into a briefcase. no more parking problems.