July 24th, 2014 By Jack Morton
The age of the Jetsons is almost here. Terrafugia, a Massachusetts-based company, has made a car-plane hybrid called the Transition, which is set to launch in 2016 and retail at $279,000.
This futuristic vehicle is a street-legal car with wings that fold out to make an FAA-approved airplane. It fits into your average single-car garage and drives with controls familiar to anyone with a driver’s license. However, you won’t see people taking flight in the middle of the highway. Takeoff can only happen at a public airport, and to do so you need a pilot’s license. But because it’s classified as a “light sport aircraft” the requirements for a license aren’t that hefty—for example, you only have to be 16 years old and log a mere 15 hours of flight time with a qualified instructor.
While incredible, this miracle of technology also poses some inherent risks. Crashes by amateur pilots happen all the time, and the Transition is targeted specifically at part-time fliers. However, Terrafugia CEO says the plane’s ease of use and safety feature will protect against pilot error. Worst case scenario, the Transition also comes with a rocket-deployed parachute that can be released when you pull a handle and float you—and your vehicle—to safety.