Terrafugia Requests LSA Exemptions for Flying Car

LSA needs increased weight and stall speed limits.

Transition Terrafugia

Transition Terrafugia

** Terrafugia Transition**

Terrafugia has petitioned the FAA for an exemption from the limitations of the light-sport aircraft regulations for its Transition flying car to allow for an increase in the gross weight and stall speed. A notice of petition for exemption has been published by the FAA, allowing for public comment on the issue until January 20. So far, the nearly 100 comments are overwhelmingly in favor of Terrafugia’s request.

Terrafugia has asked for a gross weight limit of 1,800 pounds, 480 pounds over the regulatory LSA limit, and a stall speed of 54 knots, 9 knots beyond the limit. The Woburn, Massachusetts-based company said it needs the higher limits "to incorporate the crashworthiness and other safety features that create the unique safety and value of the Transition while maintaining the spirit of an innovative, easy-to-fly light-sport aircraft (LSA)."

Some of the crashworthiness items that make the Transition heavier pertain to the aircraft’s automobile features, Terrafugia said. They include a safety-cage, a crumple zone, side impact protection, load-limiting seat belts and airbags. The increased stall speed is required due to the limit in the wingspan, also a result of the Transition’s road use.

Whether the FAA will allow the exemption remains to be seen, but the agency has already allowed for increased weight limits for seaplanes and in 2013 it granted an exemption to Icon Aircraft beyond those limits to allow for added safety features in the A5 seaplane LSA.

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