09 May 2013


As a long-time aviation enthusiast, I'm interested whenever a new concept design appears in the news.  I've posted in the past about various such craft, including personal jets, flying motorcycles, wingsuits, gyrocopters, and flying cars.  Of these, the consumer model which has actually received FAA approval and which will be available next year is the Terrafugia Transition, a roadable airplane which has a flight range of just under 500 miles at a cruising speed of 107 mph, and can travel on roads up to 70 mph.  It's folding wings allow it to be parked in a garage.

It happens that the same company is developing a new concept called the TF-X ~ a car with twin tiltable rotors which allow it to take off vertically like a helicopter, then transition to level flight like an airplane (see image above).  When at rest on the ground, the rotors fold into storage position and voila! ~ a car again.

The TF-X is less bulky and more sleek-looking than the Transition, and as versatile transport, it's hard to imagine anything more fun.  Here's a video of the TF-X in all modes of flight.  

Paraphrasing the video caption ~ "Terrafugia animation of its TF-X concept for a four-seat, hybrid-electric vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) flying car.  The wing unfolds, and 600hp electric motors and battery packs power the propellers.  The rotor prop blades unfold and nacelles tilt upwards for vertical take-off.  The nacelles then tilt down for forward flight, and a 300hp engine driving a rear ducted propeller takes over propulsion and recharges the batteries.  The rotor prop blades fold back, allowing the vehicle to reach 200 mph and fly for 500 miles.  Vanes in the rear prop duct provide flight control.  For landing the electric motors restart, the rotor props unfold, and nacelles tilt upwards.  Vertical take-off and landing are automatic."

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