Flying Car Cleared for Road Use

It is finally here again, the flying car. It's not quite what was flown by the colorful characters in the 'Jetsons' cartoon, but the Transition is a flying car, nonetheless. Before anyone gets the mental image of a high-quality sports car with retractable wings, something like the Batmobile, for instance, this car is not designed with aesthetic appeal as the top priority. In fact, the newest model resembles a stubby, ungainly hammerhead shark with wheels and deformed fins, but in its defense, this ugly shark can fly.
The concept of the flying car is nothing new, and throughout the years since the automobile and airplane became mainstream, many have tried to merge to the two, often unsuccessfully. The Transition, however, is an entirely new concept, of sorts; you can actually drive this car/plane to an airport of choosing, fold the wings down and take off.

Of course, you will need a pilot's license, the car does not fly itself, yet. The Transition has also been approved by both the National Transportation Safety Board and the Federal Aviation Administration. The Transition meets the latest crash-test standards on the road and is classified as a light-sport aircraft, which is one of the easiest and most sought after pilot's licenses there are.

What Does it Mean? The concept of the flying car is very misleading, as many still look to the day when commuters will push a button and instantly take to air, far above the traffic jams and snarls on the roads below. In reality, this is not likely to ever happen, but the Transition is the next best thing; with the ability to convert to a fully-functioning aircraft in minutes, without having to leave the car. This does not entitle drivers to fly out of traffic though, and with a machine this advanced, there is probably a sensor in the vehicle that will shut it down if you so much as think about it.
What the Transition does mean is that there is a new, and relatively affordable, option for sport pilots and aircraft enthusiasts that have dreamed of merging the car and plane into one machine. The Transition can carry almost 500 pounds, fly for over 400 nautical miles at a time and even has the option of a full-vehicle parachute, an option seldom seen with sport aircraft of any type.
How do you get a Flying Car? Believe it or not, you can by a flying car starting as early as 2012, as the NTSB has approved them for road use, the last hurdle in the path to making a flying car accessible to the general public. The downside, of course, is the price; as novel as the idea is, it still costs quite a bit to make a car fly.
This could be a good thing, as the temptation to fly out of traffic or land on the highway will be tempered with the $250,000 price tag that came with the vehicle.Terrafugia Inc., the maker of the Transition is currently taking deposits for the 2012 models, and for a mere $10,000, you can reserve a flying car of your very own. It is often said that the difference between boys and men is the price of their toys, and the Transition fits that description impeccably; with practical applications as both a plane and a car, it is one of easiest toys to justify, even at a quarter of a million dollars each.
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