JUL 28th 2015

Will the Tomorrow's World dream of a flying car finally happen?

Goodwood loves cars and it loves planes, and generally the two keep a polite distance from each other. But maybe not for much longer…

Flying cars have been dreamed about for a hundred years but have never really, er, taken off. That doesn’t stop people trying of course – and occasionally coming up with something that gets your attention.

Such as the Terrafugia TF-X which has had its debut this week. We could explain more but the best thing is to have a look at the video. It’s not all real footage of course but it makes you think.

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Terrafugia, a Massachusetts based firm that has been in the flying car business for 10 years and already has the $280,000 Transition model, says the new TF-X is ‘the flying car for all of us’.

As a car, the TF-X apparently fits a standard garage. It’s electrically powered and offers expected car comforts for four people. As a ‘fixed wing street legal aircraft’ it’s a flying machine with a 500-mile range that can take off and land vertically thanks to electric motor pods. Take-off requires a clearing of a minimum 100-ft diameter.

Once airborne the 300hp thrust motor gets the TF-X along at up to 200mph, while also recharging the batteries so the rotors can deploy again to ensure a gentle landing. There’s also a parachute just in case…

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Terrafugia say when the TF-X is available in around eight to 10 years it will be statistically safer than driving a car and that learning to drive/fly it should take no more than five hours. Flown in manual mode it is said to be akin to steering a car. But there’s also an auto mode that takes care of awkward stuff like navigation and landing while automatically ‘avoiding other air traffic, bad weather, and restricted and tower-controlled airspace’.

Price for early adopters? Says the firm, ‘on-par with very high-end luxury cars of today’. So maybe a quarter of a million or so.

You never know, one day it may even appear in the Freddie March Spirit of Aviation display at some distant Revival meeting.

GRR wonders, what chance a version with the Merlin V12?

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