It is really happening
The car takes 30 seconds to transform into a plane, and needs a clear stretch of only 500m to take off. In-flight cruising speed from the rear-facing propeller is 185kph, the range is 730km, and its payload is 200kg.
Terrafugia was founded by five MIT graduates who are also pilots. Sponsors include SolidWorks and CableOrganizer.com, with extra help coming from Garmin International, Dynon Avionics, CO Guardian, David Clark Company, Bose Corporation, Icom, and Air Graphics.
The Transition designers used Dassault Systèmes (DS) SolidWorks 3D design suite for the initial design. Terrafugia engineers are using DS’s Catia computer aided design software for 3D composite material and finite element modelling to experiment “in silicon” with different materials and sizing for the wings for its beta prototype, expected in 2011.
Ben Zelnick, an engineer at Terrafugia, said, “Having a full digital model of a ply-by-ply layout will allow us to conduct accurate structural analyses, which is invaluable in reducing the weight of the Transition.”