GA Groups Support LSA Exemption for Flying Car

Terrafugia Transition

A number of general aviation's most influential lobbying groups have come out in strong support of Terrafugia's request for an exemption to LSA weight and stall speed limits for the company's developmental flying car.

The General Aviation Manufacturers Association, Light Aircraft Manufacturers Association and Experimental Aircraft Association all submitted formal comments to the FAA supporting the exemption request on the grounds that Terrafugia's Transition "roadable aircraft" offers novel safety enhancements and innovative technology.

"We believe it is in the public interest to consider and approve such a petition as the product which is being proposed will provide unique safety improvements and will increase access to flying," GAMA wrote.

AOPA also offered its full support for the weight and speed increases in a January 20 letter to the FAA.

"The LSA category was created in part to reinvigorate the general aviation industry, while supporting the FAA's goal to increase the safety of the flying public," Tom Kramer, AOPA manager of regulatory affairs, wrote in the letter. "By design, the Transition is poised to contribute to the growth of the general aviation market, to introduce innovation into general aviation, and to provide unprecedented safety to the pilots and passengers of the Transition."

Terrafugia is asking the FAA to permit a max gross weight for its flying car of 1,800 pounds and a stall speed of 54 knots. Rules for light sport aircraft set the max weight at 1,320 pounds and max stall speed at 45 knots. Other LSA manufacturers have successfully petitioned the FAA for exemptions to the rules, most notably Icon Aircraft which won a 250-pound weight increase for the A5 light-sport amphibian.

The FAA received more than 270 comments on Terrafugia's exemption request, the overwhelming majority of them supportive of the weight and stall speed increases. The agency will rule on the request later this year.

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