Mon, Sep 11, 2006
You Can Fly It Now! On Your Computer
It's not ready yet, but if you really want to know
what it will look like to fly a car or drive a plane, the
Transition has a flight simulator you can fire up right now.
Terrafugia has designed a "roadable aircraft" that it claims is
finally a practical solution fifty years after Molt Taylor unveiled
his flying car.
If you have the "X-Plane" flight simulator (by Laminar Research)
loaded into your computer, you can download the Transition module
directly from their website which will allow pilots and drivers to
A 1/5 scale model was recently on view at Airventure Oshkosh and
the booth had a steady stream of visitors, most skeptical but some
placing deposits of $7,400, or 5 percent of the expected
$148,000 final price.
Co-founder and CEO Paul Dietrich came up with the idea as a
student at MIT. Enrolled in the Department of Aeronautics and
Astronautics, he became fascinated with the concept of the flying
car and the earlier failed attempts to produce an economically
practical model. Dietrich recently won the Lemelson-MIT
Student Prize, which recognizes invention and innovation.
Anna Mracek, COO of Terrafugia and also an MIT graduate, wrote
in an email to CNET News "A few of the older gentlemen I talked to
told me that they had been waiting for something like this their
whole lives and were so excited that we were making it real while
they were still able to fly it...there was naturally some healthy
skepticism as well, but even the skeptics were looking forward to
us bringing a flying prototype to Oshkosh one of these years."
While dozens of inventors have been working on this
concept for decades, Dietrich believes that with the advent of new
lighter materials and high-powered computers, the flying car may
soon be seen on a highway and runway near you. And as of now, you
can simulate it.
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