Terrafugia is exploring the feasibility of a four-seat, vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) plug-in hybrid-electric flying car which it has dubbed the TF-X, the company announced on 5 May.

"Incorporating the state-of-the-art in intelligent systems, fly-by-wire controls, and currently available technology, the TF-X will further increase the level of safety, simplicity, and convenience of personal aviation," Terrafugia says.



Furthermore, the company says that the hybrid VTOL aircraft/car will cost about as much as a luxury ground vehicle. "It is likely that TF-X will be more expensive than a 'normal car' due to the higher costs of the enabling light-weight materials," Terrafugia says. "But with investment in automotive scale production, early studies indicate that it is possible that the final price point could be on-par with very high-end luxury cars of today."

Terrafugia says that the aircraft/car will have a non-stop flight range of about 435nm (805km) and should be able to take-off vertically from a 30m (100ft) diameter clearing.

The TF-X should be safer than a car, the company asserts and will include a back full-vehicle parachute system. It will also include an auto-land system for emergencies. Terrafugia further asserts, "Learning how to safely operate a TF-X vehicle should take an average driver no more than five hours." Additionally, "TF-X will give the operator significant freedom in flight - controlled in a manner similar to steering a car," the company says.

Source: Flight International