Terrafugia's Transition is part-car, part-airplane and as of this month, a flight-worthy creation. The vehicle successfully completed its first test flight earlier this month, the company announced on Wednesday.
The flight was short -- just 37 seconds -- and right over the runway, but as Anna Mracek Dietrich, a Terrafugia co-founder and its chief operating officer, pointed out, flying wasn't the key goal.
Transition's aerial debut followed six months of road tests and years of design. The goal is to create an airplane that can be driven to and from a runway and parked in the family garage at night.
Transition runs on regular unleaded gasoline and can travel up to 500 miles on a single tank of gas. It takes less than 30 seconds for the vehicle's wings to fold up or extend to transform from plane to car or vice-versa.
Information from the test flight will be used to tweak the Transition's design for a second prototype. The company plans to begin selling the vehicles, which cost $194,000, in 2010, said Richard Gersh, Terrafugia's vice president of business development.
The company has taken deposits for 40 vehicles already, Deitrich said.
It will be a toy for the rich. Just remember, though, a century ago, the automobile was a lazy pleasure for the idle rich, or twenty-three years ago, only the affluent could afford cinder block cell phones.