Real Life Chitty Chitty Bang Bang Takes to the Skies in Wisconsin

Thursday, 12 September 2013

It seems that mainstream flying cars could soon be a reality, thanks to American manufacturer Terrafugia. One of the world’s first viable flying cars made its debut at the EAA AirVenture Oshkosh air show in Wisconsin this summer, where it drove around like a normal car before taking to the skies for two 20-minute long flying displays.

The Terrafugia Transition has enough room for two passengers and even has space for luggage. The wings also fold into the side of the vehicle, so it’s entirely possible to drive it around the neighbourhood without a worry - although you may get some funny looks from other drivers and pedestrians. Surprisingly, this sci-fi inspired wonder runs on unleaded petrol too, rather than the jet fuel you might expect.

According to the Daily Mail, the car has been in development for seven years. It’s a bit different from the flying cars seen in Back to the Future, however, as the chassis is slightly too large to fit in a typical garage and requires a real runway for a successful take-off. However, Terrafugia are already working on their next model: the TF-X, which will be able to take off vertically like a helicopter and will have a sleeker appearance.

While flying cars have been a fantasy since the 1930s, development hasn’t been possible until quite recently. The American government helped things along by relaxing a few rules in order for the car to be considered road legal in the US. Tech blog Pocket Lint explains that the car’s windscreen is made from stronger stuff than the usual safety glass to protect against potential impact from birds, and the tyres are larger than normal to handle the impact of landing.

The implications of flying cars on the car insurance industry are not yet clear, though the Terrafugia Transition is not due to hit showrooms until 2015 - and will only be available to those with a pilot’s license and £190,000 to spare!

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