US start-up manufacturer Terrafugia has secured US approval to boost the maximum take-off weight of its Transition roadable light sport aircraft by 50kg (110lb) to 650kg, the same limit already allowed for LSA seaplanes.
Terrafugia's request to increase the weight from the LSA industry standard of 600kg to a higher 670kg was turned down.
"This extra weight gives us more flexibility," says Terrafugia vice-president for product development Richard Gersh, "allowing us to play around with the payload and add or swap out components."
Boosting the weight allowance should help the Transition to meet US highway safety standards, he continues without which it cannot be marketed as a roadable vehicle. There is no timetable for a decision, but Terrafugia is hoping to secure approval this year.
Terrafugia will unveil computer renderings of its production prototype design at the Experimental Aircraft Association's AirVenture show and will also display its proof-of-concept model - which has 28 flights to date - on the static display. "We plan to have the prototype flying by early next year and deliver the first aircraft at the end of 2011," Gersh says.
Terrafugia has 70 orders for the Rotax 912S-powered two-seat aircraft - equivalent to two years backlog.
The bulk of its customers are based in the USA, where the LSA market is in full swing. "We have has enquiries from around the world including Asia Pacific and the Middle East, but our immediate aim is to market the aircraft in part of the world where LSA standards are being adopted, notably in Europe," says Gersh.