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

The firm behind the world's most plausible near-future flying car has pushed back delivery dates again, and suggested that vehicles may wind up costing substantially more than had been planned. The Terrafugia Transition flies Now it needs to get off the ground commercially Terrafugia Inc, engaged in developing the …

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  1. John Latham

    Fat gay men need not apply

    150kg is plenty for two people and their luggage, particularly if one of them is the sort of woman you'd hope to attract as the owner of a flying car.

    Cheryl Tweedy can't top much more than 45kg, surely.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Unhappy

    @AC

    "Cheryl Tweedy can't top much more than 45kg, surely."

    But her luggage would....

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Kilos?

    Looking at the article that is 330Lb not Kilos. Also I would suspect that Cheryl weighs a little more than 45Kg. I can bench press 45Kg, and I'm pretty sure I couldn't bench press Cheryl Tweedy.

    Apologies..... where is the pedant alert icon.

    1. James Hughes 1

      To do before you die...

      I'm sure though, that attempting to benchpress young Ms Tweedy woudl be on your list of stuff to do?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Die another day ...... or 'Yes'.

        Firstly apologies to John for incorrectly suggesting that he had confused Imperial and Metric units, almost as I hit the submit button ..... oops 330/2.2 is indeed 150. This was entirely due to the understandable confusion arising from trying to think through the weighty problem of bench pressing the average woman.

        So where to start, what needs to be thought through here,:

        • how much weight would I need to bench press, 45kg is pretty wimpy

        • target weight … my preference would be our digerati czar, the inestimable MLF

        • where to source a training partner etc.

        Anyways you can see how the mind can be confused by the old lb vs kg.

        All I can say is I will take myself off forthwith for a harsh session of self-flagellation, unless there is a better offer….. so does anybody know what Cheryl, or MLF are up to today.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          sorry about this but...

          Who or what is an MLF???

          1. BoldMan

            I think he means...

            Martha Lane Fox

  4. Matt Bryant Silver badge
    Flame

    World's only real flying car? Rubbish!

    Once again, the Parajet Skycar is a real car that actually looks like real car, and it flies, so please shut up about the disaster that is the Terrfugia Transition. All it is is a poorly designed aircraft with four wheels that looks like being a mobile road accident - how are you supposed to get any rear-quarter visibility with the wings folded up? What a joke!

    1. Daniel B.
      Flame

      Yeeowch

      You mean the flying buggy that sometimes takes off, and never lands ... but actually crashes. The Transition doesn't seem to have that problem, but the 150kg limit does seem to be a show stopper. I weigh 79 kilos, which means I'd have to fly with someone under 70kg or fly solo.

  5. John Latham

    @Titus Technophobe

    >>Looking at the article that is 330Lb not Kilos.<<

    330lb is 150kg.

    >> Also I would suspect that Cheryl weighs a little more than 45Kg. I can bench press 45Kg, and I'm pretty sure I couldn't bench press Cheryl Tweedy.<<

    According to the high quality reporting in the Daily Wail her weight recently dropped to 6st (38kg) when she had malaria. I could therefore transport two malaria-stricken Cheryls in my flying car in addition to myself.

    I propose that El Reg adopts the "malaria-stricken Cheryl" as a standard unit of flying car load carrying.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Most Humble Apologies John as above ...... which you probably seen anyways.

      I have to second the proposal that from henceforth the 'Reg Fraternity of Flying' cars adopt the MSC (circa 38kg) standard unit of flying car load capacity. It's the only decent thing to do!

      I note below the attempt to drag me further into the mire by suggesting that it is Cheryl Cole who is malaria stricken, but believe that they well may be one and the same. So how heavy is MLF .....

      1. Anomalous Cowturd
        Welcome

        They are indeed,

        One and the same, according to her Web thingy.

        Lovely looking girl.

        But when she speaks, Urgh! Full on Geordie. (This is an incomprehensible North Eastern dialect, for our overseas readers)! And, apparently, she has a penchant for attacking critics in Ladies powder rooms...

        I for one, welcome our cute but malnourished, incomprehensible, thuggish overlords^H^H^H^Hadies.

  6. Aristotles slow and dimwitted horse Silver badge
    Stop

    I thought it was...

    Cheryl Cole that had malaria and not Tweedy?

    For $250,000 or so I could buy 2 cars and an aeroplane which kind of negates the concept.

    1. Red Bren
      Coat

      Tweedy or Cole

      Perhaps she lost custody of the malaria during her divorce?

  7. Neil Charles

    That Parajet thing

    The Parajet Skycar made for a fairly entertaining diversion on TV, but to call it a proper flying car is a bit much.

    It's a beach buggy strapped to a big paramotor wing and based on the documentary, it flies sometimes. It also did a pretty accurate impression of attempting to kill its pilot at least once.

    The production version (if there is one) might be better than the prototype they took to Africa, but I'm not getting in one until it looks a lot less Heath Robinson than that. And I bl**dy love paragliders.

    1. Matt Bryant Silver badge
      Boffin

      RE: That Parajet thing

      The Parajet Skycar is just that - a car that can also fly. The Transition is very obviously a poor plane that will make a cr*p car. You can order a Skycar right now, though the styling of the production version is a bit too Batman for my liking.

      There is a long history of flying vehicles preceding the Transition (the UK came up with flying jeeps during WW2, the Russians went one better and flew test flights with a glider version of the T-60 recce tank in 1942; then there's the jet-propelled AMC Matador flying car in the Bond movie, which was itself inspired by the piston-powered Convaircar from 1947). The Reg's insistance on classing it as the only "real flying car" seems to be simply because it can supposedly switch back and forth between the two states in short order. Big deal, so can the Skycar. Is one the better car? - definately the Skycar. Is one the better aircraft? - not definately the Transition as it seems to have very little air-time accrued, whereas the Skycar has flown all the way to Timbuctoo (not kidding, it has!).

      The history of flying cars shows us that the concept fails because the resulting hybrid is usually too expensive and simply not good enough a car to tempt the rich away from buying one each of a Ferrari/Porsche/Lotus and a Cessna/Piper. The Skycar at least offers some interesting performance and handling due to its beach-buggy-like base, whereas the Transition looks simply dangerous as a road vehicle. The Register's insistence on pushing the Transition as a viable concept is understandable, self-indulgent, geek fantasy, but it's desire to label it the "only real flying car" is simply annoyingly blinkered.

      1. Neil Charles

        I still say can also fly (sometimes)

        "whereas the Skycar has flown all the way to Timbuctoo (not kidding, it has!)."

        I'll just take issue with this bit for a minute. It was a good publicity stunt but it drove out of the UK for a start because they didn't have permission to fly it. And I seem to remember they couldn't fly it in Africa during the heat of the day because the air was too turbulent. I don't want to contemplate a 75% asymetric collapse while piloting a para-car, ballistic parachutes or not!

        From Wikipedia

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parajet_Skycar

        "An expedition team led by Neil Laughton set out on 15 January 2009 to fly and drive the SkyCar from London to Timbuktu. After the Civil Aviation Authority failed to grant permits in time due to confusion over how to categorise the SkyCar, the team decided to start flying the SkyCar from northern France,[2] however this was also not possible without permission from the CAA and the skycar was driven to southern Spain. After a couple of embarrassing false starts Neil Laughton managed to fly across the Straits of Gibraltar damaging the car on landing in Morocco. After repairs the car was driven to Mauritania where the team made a couple of short flights. Although the car was designed for two people it never flew successfully with more than a driver / pilot. The flying portion of the expedition eventually ended when inventor Gilo Cardozo crashed into a tree in the sparsely vegetated desert while attempting to take-off for a third flight. The team deemed the expedition successfully completed on 25 February 2009 despite flying only a tiny fraction of the 9000km and returned the Skycar to Wiltshire, England."

        I do think it was a cool project but seeing as they never both flew together in it, they might as well have taken a car and stuck a paramotor in the boot to take it in turns flying that while the other drove.

        1. Matt Bryant Silver badge
          Stop

          RE: I still say can also fly (sometimes)

          News for you - hot air is not good for the lifting capability of any aircraft. If the Terriblefudge Transition can't lift two decent sized gents in cool air, it would do even worse in the hot air of Timbuctoo, to the point where you'd be looking for an underwieght midget as a pilot with a matchbox as luggage. The Skycar has flown with two reasonable size passengers in cooler air, something that seems beyond the Transition. The reason the Skycar couldn't be flown out of the UK was beaureucratic, not due to an inability to fly. And if you did need to fly more often in really hot air, you could just use a larger parawing, which would still fold neatly away and not require major changes to the Skycar design. Adding extra wingspan to the Transition would be a major engineering exercise.

          Also, you mentioned turbulent air as a problem for the Skycar - it is for all parawing aircraft - but fail to point out that the Transition is also restricted to fairweather flying. The Skycar also managed to drive very well (not surprisingly given its buggy base) whereas the Transition looks like being a road-going nightmare. Remember, the whole flying car thing is supposed to be about a CAR that can also fly, not a plane that can barely run on the road. The Skycar is very obviously the better car and a reasonable flyer given the limited flying role in consideration. The Transition looks like a poor flyer and an awful car.

          Whilst you are correct in saying the parawing option is not perfect, the Skycar is still a "flying car", which blows big holes in the Reg idea that the Transition is the only "real flying car".The Reg's fixation with pushing the Transition as some amazing tech breakthrough is to ignore both the historic precedents and better current alternatives like the Skycar.

  8. Big_Boomer
    Go

    $250,000??

    Sheesh, that's my mortgage paid off and enough money left over to buy a new car and a new motorcycle.

    With my mortgage paid off I could take a job close to home and not have to commute.

    Why would I want a plane?

    1. Giles Jones Gold badge

      Better than a sports car

      Given some people pay that for stupid red italian sports cars that are stuck to the ground I think the price is pretty good.

      What use is a 200MPH sports car in a traffic jam if you actually want to drive somewhere (and not pose in it).

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Coat

    no title

    I'll stick to my hovercraft-skirted PBY Catalina then...

    Why not something bigger, like a school bus size? Enough room on top for folding wings, enough room for decent jet engines, and hell yes enough room for extra fuel, luggage, and a decent landing gear. Just don't paint it yellow and don't try to carry 50+ ^H^H noisy kids people.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    FAIL

    Not much cope really!

    Well if you cant get 4 people inc the driver and some luggage.. might as well close up shop and give up! Whats the point if you cant get yourself and a good looking bird in too?

    Epic fail... wheres my coat??

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Good, up to a point.

    I applaud what they're doing, but what they have so far is just a prototype not a serious retail product. Maybe they're starting to realise that?

  12. Cucumber C Face
    Grenade

    Delayed, heavier, more expensive and under spec...

    Is it battery powered by any chance?

  13. James Pickett

    Blast

    I only want one if it uses the propellor on the ground :-)

    Shame about the weight limit, though. If it's being sold to Americans, they might as well make it a single-seater...

  14. RJ

    Good for James May...

    ...for normal salary mortals not so much

    However I could honestly see this as a home / work commute for the highly paid executive types who like to fly, they probably drive to work solo anyway so the weight problem isn't exactly huge.

    A bloody expensive home/work commuter car but then those guys get paid outrageously anyway.

    I wouldn't be surprised to see some of these around silicon valley

  15. brainwrong
    Stop

    Bad weather ????????

    "If bad weather should set in before the return flight - an event which would prevent most private pilots, lacking instrument ratings, from getting their aircraft home - he simply drives back on the ground"

    With those wings stuck up in the air, I should have thought even a moderate wind would make it undrivable.

  16. This post has been deleted by its author

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Why?

      Why would the prop fail SVA? It doesn't spin when you're driving and it's not going to have any parts with a radius of under 2.5mm is it?

  17. ZootCadillac
    Stop

    I just don't see the point of this nonsense

    I live less than a mile from an airfield. I can walk there ( but don't ). I fly a Cessna 152 which is not mine but I could quite easily buy a second hand one for anything between 12 and £25k depending upon age and condition.

    I can fly to Dublin in no time at all from the NW UK on less than £50 of fuel ( return ), hire a taxi to travel and on my return drive home. I am also, interestingly enough, 13st and I can carry someone my size and a bit of luggage. For £40k I could get a 4 seat Piper.

    At what point in the future will I get my $250k worth out of this nonsense idea?

    In fact for around half the price of this toy I could get a 6 seat, twin engined Cessna and make some money out of the thing.

    It might work for millionaire ranch owners in the US and AUS but for the suburban UK it's not got much of a future ( and I doubt it would get a roadworthy certificate either)

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Apples and Oranges

      Why is it when price comes into the discussion there's always some eejit who says "I could get a second hand XXXXXX for...."?

      There's absolutely no point in comparing new with second hand. The sort of person who buys new doesn't buy used, no matter what *you* think of the difference between the two.

      The main problem with your argument is, however, that a taxi is not the same as a car (albeit a very weird one). If you had to drive about all over the place on arrival how convenient would a taxu be? Not at all. And what if you weren't in an urban area well served by taxis. Small airfields seldom have a taxi rank outside. It's all well and good saying you could take a taxi in Dublin. What if, rather than Dublin you were flying to, say, Crossland Moor? Where this craft scores over your taxi plan is that with this plane you could take off from A, land at B, drive to C and take off from there. You might think this is unlikely, but consider the possibilities...

      What happens if you are not instrument rated and are forced to land due to poor weather conditions? You and your ancient 152 (and it would have to be for £25K - just seen a 1977 model advertised at that price) would be stuffed. The Transition pilot could drive on.

      Remember the Top Gear race where James May couldn't fly at night. If he'd had a Transition he would probably have won the race.

  18. Anonymous Coward
    FAIL

    @Aristotles slow and dimwitted horse .. nail, head, on, hit

    This is 20 years too late.

    'Personal' air-transport (as much as i'd like to partake given the funds) is now not too far from badger baiting or koran burning in the picture of shit you (might) like to do, but really shouldn't ...

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Flying car????? PAH!

    More like a plane that is type approved for road use.

    If you need access to a runway in order to take off then I'm not interested. I want VTOL or nothing.

  20. James Pickett

    @Good for James May

    IIRC, the Aerocar he flew in was over 50 years old and carried both him and an American, presumably totalling >330lb. Progress, eh?

  21. JDX Gold badge
    Thumb Up

    $250k is cheap

    For the kind of person who would buy a luxury car-plane. They clearly aren't aiming at normal consumers, it would terrible if there were loads of these around anyway. $250k puts it firmly in the cost of a DB9 or Ferrari, way cheaper than top-end cars.

    Anyway the important question is, how fast will it go round the Top Gear track?

  22. chris 130
    Alert

    Whers my jetpack

    Tommorows World (BBC) promised me a Jetpack by 2000 AD

    Can I have it now please?

  23. Markk
    FAIL

    US car regulations likely killing it

    In 25 years the weight of a Honda Civic and like sized cars has increased 800 lbs, mainly due to DOT regulations on crash protection, airbags, and other mandates. For an airplane, that leaves little capacity to carry anything. The DOT made a huge blunder requiring child car seats instead of more accommodating safety belts. Most parents don't even use seats properly, and they have hugely encouraged SUV purchase. SUVs are easier to get kids in and out with, and only two seats fit in the back, so parents get 3-row SUVs. If the mandated killer airbags weren't such a stuff-up, the front seat could have been used. These SUV's are now so big, parents can't see and back up over their own kids! Yay nanny state and statisticians who look at aftermaths rather than use some sense beforehand.

    Many rural airfields in the US and OZ are not served by taxi or hire cars.

  24. Markk
    Pint

    18 year old passengers encouraged!

    Since the thing costs about the same as 4 years of private university tuition in the US, give a svelte young woman experiential education instead! Personally, I'd rather have any number of supercars before one of these - unless I already had several.

  25. Daniel Evans

    I wonder...

    How long after release will it take for some twat to think "I can't be arsed to find an airport" and try landing on the Aston Expressway in rush hour, against the majority of lanes?

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