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The Flying Car Is On Its Way to Reality

Stashed in: Cars!, Flying!, History of Tech!, Auto Erotica, Just Plain Cool

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Uh, the car is going to cost $280,000?

More than a hundred people have paid deposits of $10,000 each for the Transition, which will be capable of 70 miles (110 kilometers) per hour on the road and 100 mph in the sky when it finally comes to market sometime within the next three years. Dietrich is refining details on the third-generation prototype of his $279,000 vehicle before attempting certification by both the FAA, which regulates planes, and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, which oversees cars.


Critics say flying cars are unlikely to be both great airplanes and great automobiles. But that misses the point, says Dietrich, who explains the Transition is intended to expand the definition of an airplane, solving a number of persistent problems in the process.

First and foremost is that small planes are virtually useless in inclement weather. If a storm rolls in while you’re flying the Transition, on the other hand, you can simply land at many of the 5,000-plus airports in the U.S. alone, push a button to fold up the wings and hit the road until conditions improve. At home, you can park it on the street or in the typical suburban garage. And it runs on regular unleaded gas, which is cheaper and cleaner than aviation fuel and available at your local service station.

“You’re getting comparable gas mileage to your road car, but you’re going 100 miles per hour over all the traffic,” Dietrich says.

That makes the Transition ideal for weekend jaunts or for salespeople and others whose jobs require regular trips of a few hundred miles -- although, at the expected price, even he admits it won’t be within reach of your average salesperson anytime soon.

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