Whether you classify it as a roadable aircraft or a flying car, Terrafugia's Transition looks resolutely set on avoiding vaporware status and becoming a bona fide commercial reality late next year. It's ironic, then, that the latest development is being illustrated with a bunch of renders, but what they show is a significantly redesigned body, which now comes with FAA-approved safety features and brings the hybrid vehicle closer to its final shape. The new design integrates lessons learned from the Transition's test flight last year to improve the wing shape and retraction mechanism, while also including an impact-absorbing crumple zone in the nose. The two-seater now also comes with a touchscreen center console -- because nothing signals modernity better than a touchscreen -- and can be seen in all its computer-generated glory on video after the break.
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Terrafugia Transition - new design, July 2010

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"Flying Car" Moves Closer to First Delivery

Design of Next Generation Transition® Unveiled


Oshkosh,WI – July 26, 2010: At a press conference today at AirVenture, Terrafugia, Inc., developer of the Transition® Roadable Aircraft, or "Flying Car", released specifications and computer graphics of the exciting new Transition®. Terrafugia chose AirVenture, the center of the aviation universe, to unveil a scale model of the next generation design, currently under construction at Terrafugia's facility inWoburn, MA, to both the aviation press and aircraft enthusiasts alike. Deliveries of the Transition® are scheduled to begin in late 2011.

The improvements to the design are based on data acquired during drive and flight testing of the Proof of Concept (POC) Transition®, successfully completed in 2009, and extensive computer-aided design and optimization. The recent grant of 110 pounds (50 kg) by the FAA for the Transition® within the Light Sport Aircraft category also allows the next generation design to incorporate modern automotive-style safety features currently unavailable in other light aircraft. Advanced computational fluid dynamics (CFD) with Fluent®, finite element analysis (FEA) with CATIA® V5 and simulated dynamic crash testing - complete with airbag deployment and digital crash test dummies - have all been used to optimize the design and build confidence that the vehicle will meet the stringent Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards. Terrafugia's Transition® is the only light sport aircraft to simulate crash testing in this manner. When combined with a full-vehicle ballistic parachute system and the ability to drive in bad weather, the Terrafugia team expects the Transition® will prove itself to be one of the safest LSAs in the world.

Some features of note in the next generation design include:

Automotive-style crash safety features including an energy absorbing crush structure in the nose of the vehicle and a rigid safety cage to protect the occupants.
A customized, intuitive touch-screen interface in the cockpit.
An improved wing with an optimized airfoil and a folding mechanism that operates smoothly & safely from inside the cockpit.
A pusher propeller with an open empennage that makes efficient use of the 100 hp Rotax 912S mid-mounted engine in flight and is locked in place when driving.
Rear-wheel drive with a continuously variable transmission (CVT) and tuned independent suspension for responsive road handling.

Terrafugia (terra-FOO-gee-ah), based inWoburn, MA, is comprised of a team of award-winning engineers who have been advancing the state of personal aircraft since 2006. Founded by five pilots who are graduates of MIT and supported by a world-class network of advisors and private investors, Terrafugia's mission is the innovative expansion of personal mobility. "Terrafugia" is Latin for "escape from land."

For more information, high resolution images, or to schedule an interview, contact Richard Gersh at Terrafugia: +1-781-491-0812, visit http://www.terrafugia.com, or e-mail: press@terrafugia.com

Updated specifications can be found online at http://www.terrafugia.com/aircraft.html

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Terrafugia's flying car Transitions into a safer, better, tamer-looking personal transporter