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Terrafugia's street-legal prototype flying car makes maiden flight

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The first street-legal prototype of the Terrafugia Transition flying took off for the first time on March 23rd, 2012, as part of a series of FAA flight tests.

Terrafugia Transition flying car garage stock press 1024
Terrafugia Transition flying car garage stock press 1024

The Terrafugia Transition has been in development since 2006 and flying since 2009, but it's only just last month that a street-legal version of the $279,000 winged auto made it into the sky. Following approval by the US National Highway Traffic Safety Adminstration (NHTSA) last June, which allowed it to drive, the company's "Production Prototype" completed its first flight at Plattsburgh International Airport on March 23rd. The craft flew eight minutes and reached an altitude of 1,400 feet as part of the first of six phases of test flights — the firm still needs to show the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) that the plane is safe in the sky. It's not easy to get a flying car off the ground, but getting it approved by regulatory agencies is another matter altogether.

That hasn't stopped some buyers, though: apparently, the company's already racked up over 100 pre-orders for the convertible plane, mostly to existing pilots, who are charmed with the idea of a 35MPG vehicle that uses conventional unleaded gasoline and can fit in a single-car garage. The company says it expects to deliver the first production planes to buyers later this year. Watch it drive, transform, take off, and fly in the video below.