Flying car cleared for use on US roads

Posted by Emma Woollacott

The Terrafugia flying car is now legal for use on the roads, following a grant of special exemptions by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

One exemption allows the Transition to use tires that are appropriately rated for highway speeds and vehicle weight, but which aren't normally permitted on for multi-purpose vehicles. It means the vehicle can have the same tires as were used successfully in flight and drive tests in 2009.

The vehicle's also allowed to have its own type of windscreen, with Terrafugia arguing that traditional laminated automotive safety glass could fracture in such a way as to obscure the vision of the pilot in the event of a bird impact. 

Instead, it's allowed to use polycarbonate materials which are just as protective, it says, but which won't shatter or craze.

Last summer, the Transition was given initial approval by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), and  granted an additional 110 pounds weight allowance. 

The company says all it needs to do now is carry out a testing program before the Transition starts shipping. It's planning extensive analysis and crash testing to make sure it reaches safety standards.

After that, it says, the Transition could be available as early as the end of this year, costing around $200,000. You can reserve one for a deposit of $10,000, here.