Aero car takes to the air

Business Jet Traveler » April 2009
This car can turn into an airplane as quickly as Clark Kent changes clothes.
Monday, June 1, 2009 - 5:00am

The Transition "roadable" aircraft-which can be converted from a car to an airplane or vice versa in less than 30 seconds-made its debut flight on March 5. The trip aloft was the first of several exercises in which the vehicle will be flown only over a runway, according to manufacturer Terrafugia, a Woburn, Mass. startup firm. Plans call for one or more prototypes to be flight tested, leading to FAA certification in the Light Sport Aircraft category and first deliveries in 2011. The LSA category means an FAA-licensed pilot is required to operate the Transition in flight mode.  

A single 100-hp Rotax engine turning a four-blade propeller powers the two-seat machine. It will cruise up to 450 miles at more than 115 mph, can drive at highway speeds on the road and can fit into most home garages, according to Terrafugia, which was founded by five pilots who are all MIT graduates. Using unleaded premium gas, the Transition will achieve about 30 mpg, the company claims. From inside the cabin, the pilot can change between flying and driving configuration by flipping a switch that folds or unfolds the wings.

Terrafugia-one of several companies with flying cars in the works-said it has orders for 40 of its Transition vehicles, which carry a base price of $194,000.

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““CEOs go to their vacation homes just after companies report favorable news, and CEOs return to headquarters right before subsequent news is released. More good news is released when CEOs are back at work, and CEOs appear not to leave headquarters at all if a firm has adverse news to disclose. When CEOs are away from the office, stock prices behave quietly with sharply lower volatility. Volatility increases immediately when CEOs return to work.” —David Yermack, a New York University finance professor, whose recently released study shows a correlation between when CEOs take their private jets on vacation and movements in their companies’ stock price ”

-David Yermack