John Batchelor, host of the John Batchelor radio show and Lou Ann Hammond, CEO, www.drivingthenation.com, talked to Dr. Carl Dietrich, creator of Terrafugia’s Transition airplane/car. Batchelor and Hammond have talked about Dietrich’s Terrafugia since 2006. The flying car, or driving plane was finally shown at the 2012 New York International Auto Show (NYIAS).
What does Terrafugia mean?
What are the challenges of making a car that flys, or a plane that drives?
Dr. Dietrich has taken no Department of Energy (DOE) money. And even better, no TSA.
How fast does it go in the air and on the road?
“There are over 5,000 small airports in the United States”, says Dietrich, “instead of flying from hub to hub to get to your final destination, why not drive to your local airport, do a pre-flight inspection on your airplane and fly to the closest airport to your destination. If there is a thunderstorm you can land at an airport along the way, fold the airplane into a car and drive to the next airport and take off again.”
“Center of gravity is back further for driving stability.” Dietrich noted. This would translate into a “pancake” landing event instead of a smoother painting it on the runway. “Once the rear wheels touch…” the front two wheels come down promptly; more the result of the center of gravity than the pilots skill level.
The Transition will have rudder pedals for traditional slip crosswind landing techniques. Dietrich has landed the flight model in a simulated 15 knot crosswind. 1500 foot takeoff run and grass strip capability will permit the Transition to land at one airfield, drive to another and takeoff.
“One of the fun things for me to do is to come in on a hard slip & I wouldnt want to give that up.” Dietrich, a pilot, enthusiastically noted.