Flying cars have been one of the primary disappointments of the 21st century's expected innovations. The fact remains that nothing approaching what so many enthusiasts had hoped - and been promised - is yet available. We do not fly to work in stylish car-jets, and we do not drive to the shops with the wings conveniently tucked away - yet. Terrafugia's Transition is working to change that, and if the $5,000 pre-orders being taken now are any indication, the goal could be in sight.

On the other hand, it wouldn't be the first time an aeromobile had come up short of the mark, so consider us skeptical until it takes to wing and to road at the hands of a retail customer. But those with more faith can get a reserved spot on the purchase list for the $194,000 vehicle for just $5,000.

Delivery isn't expected late 2009, and considering that development has been underway since 2006 without an actual flying prototype, that date could yet be pushed back further, but Terrafugia is confident in its plans.

The Transition, unlike some of the alternative flying cars, features standard car tires and runs on normal pump fuel, ensuring its utility as a road vehicle will be as high as such a hybrid design can reach.

With a projected range of 400 nautical miles, a gross take-off weight of 1,320lb (600kg) and a 100hp Rotax engine, the vehicle is good for a cruising speed of 100 knots (115mph or 185km/h) in the air, and capable of highway speeds on the road, according to the maker. Flight testing is expected to start soon.Terrafugia Transition flying car concept


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