The Terrafugia Transition, a light aircraft that can convert into a road-legal automobile, is to go into production after being given a special weight exemption by the US Federal Aviation Administration.
Designed as a “light sport” aircraft, the smallest kind of private aeroplane under FAA classification, it only requires 20 hours of flying time to be licenced, much less than a full private licence.
But the manufacturers found it impossible to fit the safety features that normal road legal cars are fitted with, such as airbags, crumple zones and a roll cage.
The two-seater Transition can use its front-wheel drive on roads at ordinary highway speeds, with wings folded, allowing it to average 30 mpg. Then, if the mood takes you, you can simply fold down the wings electronically, engage its rear facing propellor, and take off.
Its cruising speed in the air is 115mph, it has a range of 460 miles, and it can carry 450lb. It requires a 1,700-foot (one-third of a mile) runway to take off and can fit in a standard garage.
The company says that 70 people have ordered the car, leaving a £6,650 deposit each. The car is expected to retail at £129,000.
This is certainly a much more interesting and faster way to get to work or a friend’s summer barbeque than if you went in a Nissan Sunny.