Aerospace firm Terrafugia to develop hybrid-electric flying aircraft
US Aerospace firm Terrafugia has started feasibility studies on a four-seat, vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) plug-in hybrid-electric flying car aircraft, the TF-X.
The TF-X will use intelligent systems, fly-by-wire controls, and currently available technologies in order to increase the level of safety, simplicity, and convenience of personal aviation, according to Terrafugia.
TF-X is a fixed-wing aircraft with electric ground drive and electric power assist on takeoff and landing. It will be able to recharge its batteries either from its engine or by plugging in to electric car charging stations.
The proposed plans for TFX comes after the company's development of Transition, a street-legal aeroplane.
Terrafugia chief executive officer and chief technical office Carl Dietrich said that this was the right time for the company to start thinking about its future beyond the development of Transition
"We are passionate about continuing to lead the creation of a flying car industry and are dedicating resources to lay the foundations for our vision of personal transportation," Dietrich said.
The Transition and TF-X vehicles are expected to offer significant economic benefits and time savings as they address the transportation challenges being faced worldwide.
According to Terrafugia, preliminary conversations with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) about the TF-X concept demonstrated that the agency is willing to consider innovative technologies and regulatory solutions that are in the public interest and enhance the level of safety of personal aviation.
Currently, Terrafugia is nearing production of the Transition, and to date, the company has received 100 firm orders for the Transition, which is pending certification in the US.
The new $279,000 vehicles are expected to be delivered from early 2015.
Terrafugia, headquartered in Woburn, Massachusetts, is an aerospace company established by pilot-engineers from MIT and supported by a world-class network of advisers and investors.
Image: The proposed plans for TF-X comes after the development of the company's Transition aircraft, a street-legal airplane. Photo: courtesy of Terrafugia.