Feeds

World's only real flying car in price hikes, further delays

On time, on cost, on spec: Choose two er, none

Remote control for virtualized desktops

Over 13 stone? Better look for a skinny type-rating instructor

Unfortunately it took much longer to build the initial proof-of-concept prototype vehicle than had been thought. Then, the results of flight tests were evidently not all that one might wish, as the Transition design underwent major modifications following the proof-of-concept vehicle's trials.

The new, redesigned Transition flying car. Credit: Terrafugia

Ideal for hobbits - but not American men.

That redesign, despite the fact that the Federal Aviation Administration has allowed Terrafugia to breach normal weight limits for a light-sport aircraft, unfortunately clipped 90lb off the Transition's already-tight useful load. The new model, fully fuelled, will be able to take just 330lb of people and payload.

Two regular-size US men weighing 13 stone (180lb) apiece can't take off in a freshly topped-up Transition even if both are naked and baggageless. Realistically the Transition has become a single-seater aircraft, for a lot of the people, a lot of the time.

Right now, Terrafugia says it will commence building two more prototypes to the new design. One will go through flight test again, in order to gain light-sport certification. The other will be for the road tests required by the US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

"We can get to positive net income and be self-sustaining in a relatively short time here," says Terrafugia CEO Carl Dietrich. "There are still many options to continue our growth in the future, but this move lets us lay a solid foundation for Terrafugia's future today."

Terrafugia's original business plan called for production of between 50 and 200 Transitions annually. The firm now says it has $18m of orders and that these aircraft will be built in "the first two to three years of production" - that might indicate as few as 70-odd orders and annual production in the low twenties.

"Longer term, high volume production plans have not yet been finalized and will be influenced by experience gained in low volume manufacturing," the company's statement says.

Unfortunately it may be that high volume production never becomes required to meet demand. The original Transition, which cost $148k and could - just about - carry two people and a set of golf clubs, was a somewhat different proposition to a $250k single-seater. And three years to deliveries followed by scores or hundreds of sales per annum sounds a lot more likely to repay investments than six to seven years in development followed by sales in the dozens.

We here on the Reg flying-car desk are still hoping that the Transition becomes a soaraway success, sells like hot cakes and makes pots of money for Terrafugia's founders and investors. But that looks less likely than it did when we first covered it. ®

Remote control for virtualized desktops

More from The Register

next story
Antarctic ice THICKER than first feared – penguin-bot boffins
Robo-sub scans freezing waters, rocks warming models
I'll be back (and forward): Hollywood's time travel tribulations
Quick, call the Time Cops to sort out this paradox!
Your PHONE is slowly KILLING YOU
Doctors find new Digitillnesses - 'text neck' and 'telepressure'
SEX BEAST SEALS may be egging each other on to ATTACK PENGUINS
Boffin: 'I think the behaviour is increasing in frequency'
Reuse the Force, Luke: SpaceX's Elon Musk reveals X-WING designs
And a floating carrier for recyclable rockets
NASA launches new climate model at SC14
75 days of supercomputing later ...
Britain's HUMAN DNA-strewing Moon mission rakes in £200k
3 days, and Kickstarter moves lander 37% nearer takeoff
prev story

Whitepapers

Go beyond APM with real-time IT operations analytics
How IT operations teams can harness the wealth of wire data already flowing through their environment for real-time operational intelligence.
10 threats to successful enterprise endpoint backup
10 threats to a successful backup including issues with BYOD, slow backups and ineffective security.
Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Website security in corporate America
Find out how you rank among other IT managers testing your website's vulnerabilities.