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The Arrival of the Flying Car
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It’s about time the world caught up with the Jetsons! Now that Terrafugia is releasing the Transition, an airplane/car hybrid, we might see an opening of the often imagined, never actualized market of flying cars.

The Transition has a ways to go. Last month, the “roadable aircraft,” as the company sometimes calls it, passed flight tests of flying at 1,400 feet for eight minutes. It will have to go through a battery of safety tests before it is ready for public use, but Terrafugia is planning on having them available for purchase by the end of 2012 for the low low price of $279,000 a pop.

There is, however, a market for them, as many customers have already put down a $10,000 deposit for a model. A presentation at the New York Auto Show later this week might stir up more attention.

  
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“This is not going to be an inexpensive aircraft to produce or market,” said Robert Mann, an airline industry analyst. “It has some uniqueness, and will get some sales, but the question is, could it ever be a profitable enterprise?”

Finding a niche market is going to be tough. Not only is the unit expensive, but repairing it seems it could be a challenge. It holds a 23-gallon tank of automotive fuel, using 5 gallons an hour in the air, and 35 miles per gallon on the ground. The car needs also needs runway space to take off.

If the market manages to take off, this could spur us in the direction of our wildest sci fi dreams.

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