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Your Flying Car Awaits...Virtually


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Your Flying Car Awaits...Virtually


Mon, 11 Sep '06


You Can Fly It Now! On Your Computer


It's not ready yet, but if you really want to know what it will look like to fly a car or drive a plane, the Transition has a flight simulator you can fire up right now.


Terrafugia has designed a "roadable aircraft" that it claims is finally a practical solution fifty years after Molt Taylor unveiled his flying car.


If you have the "X-Plane" flight simulator (by Laminar Research) loaded into your computer, you can download the Transition module directly from their website which will allow pilots and drivers to pretend.


A 1/5 scale model was recently on view at Airventure Oshkosh and the booth had a steady stream of visitors, most skeptical but some placing deposits of $7,400, or 5 percent of the expected $148,000 final price.


Co-founder and CEO Paul Dietrich came up with the idea as a student at MIT. Enrolled in the Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics, he became fascinated with the concept of the flying car and the earlier failed attempts to produce an economically practical model. Dietrich recently won the Lemelson-MIT Student Prize, which recognizes invention and innovation.


Anna Mracek, COO of Terrafugia and also an MIT graduate, wrote in an email to CNET News "A few of the older gentlemen I talked to told me that they had been waiting for something like this their whole lives and were so excited that we were making it real while they were still able to fly it...there was naturally some healthy skepticism as well, but even the skeptics were looking forward to us bringing a flying prototype to Oshkosh one of these years."


While dozens of inventors have been working on this concept for decades, Dietrich believes that with the advent of new lighter materials and high-powered computers, the flying car may soon be seen on a highway and runway near you. And as of now, you can simulate it.



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