Terrafugia Unveils Updated 'Transition' Roadable Aircraft Layout

Driven by a group of MIT alumni, the Terrafugia 'Transition' roadable aircraft project has been refined. The canard surface is gone, and the rear 'fantail' surface has given way to a twin-boom configuration. Both aerodynamic changes were driven by early test flights in which the Transition was hard pressed to rotate sufficiently. Elevator authority has been increased with the new arrangement, according to Richard Gersh, VP of business development for Terrafugia. Gersh said work on building the next version with the new configuration is underway, and ground testing will begin when it is finished in about two months. That will happen at Lawrence (Massachusetts) Municipal Airport, where Terrafugia also expects to perform initial taxi tests. More advanced high-speed taxi testing and first flights will be at Plattsburgh, New York, and could occur by year end, though Gersh acknowledges it's more likely to be in the first quarter if next year. As a light sport aircraft, the Transition would be self-approved to ASTM standards, and Terrafugia is similarly exploring approvals to Federal Motor Vehicle standards.