Pre-Order Your Flying Car Now

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Back to the Future fanatics, rejoice: A Massachusetts-based aircraft manufacturer is getting ready to sell its flying car (no, it’s not a DeLorean). Terrafugia, a 4-year-old company that specializes in making light sport aircrafts, will unveil its dual-purpose vehicle, aptly named the Transition, at July’s Experimental Aircraft Association Convention is Oshkosh, Wis. It hopes to start delivering the futuristic transport in 2011.

The car-plane hybrid has a steering wheel, front-wheel drive and a gas and brake pedal for driving. It has a back propeller, control stick and rubber pedal for when it’s up in the air.  The automated, electromagnetic wings retract into the vehicle when you’re ready to drive from the runway to your house. Items such as airbags, an energy absorbing crumple zone and a protective safety cage were added for safety. According to Terrafugia, the Transition transforms into a road-ready automobile in just 30 seconds.

In the air, the aircraft can cruise for up to 450 miles at more than 115 mph. On the ground, the car version can reach normal highway speeds. Oh, and it will fit in a standard household garage.

“This breakthrough changes the world of personal mobility,” Carl Dietrich, CEO of Terrafugia, said in a press release. “Travel now becomes a hassle-free integrated land-air experience.  It’s what aviation enthusiasts have been striving for since 1918.”

Dietrich’s use of the term “aviation enthusiasts” is appropriate as his company’s new transport, though undeniably cool, is more of plane that drives than a car that flies. While the two-seat aircraft may drive well on most roads, it needs a runway to take off.  (Not to mention that if it’s illegal to pass on the shoulder, you’d probably get a ticket for flying your automobile over traffic jams.) But, hey, at least you don’t have to figure out how you’re getting home from the airport.

Semantics aside, the tentative asking price for the transport, Terrafugia told DailyFinance.com, will be $194,000. The company has taken 70 pre-orders (each requiring a $10,000 down payment) already. You can reserve your very own flying car here.

Those concerned with the lack of a pilot’s license (as opposed to a lack of funds), will be happy to know that the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has cut Terrafugia a break. The organization classified the Transition as a “Light Sport aircraft” despite the fact that its 110 pounds over that classification’s requirements. This means prospective pilots will only have to spend 20 hours in the air before they’re allowed to fly and drive. See, apparently, flying cars are for everyone.

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