Into flight mode


Pigs might fly, but can cars do it too? China’s Geely hopes to convince customers in the US that they can. Its wholly-owned American subsidiary Terrafugia has announced that it will start taking orders for its flying automobiles this month, with chief executive Chris Jaran saying the first models will be delivered next year.

Jaran said the world’s first commercially-produced flying car will cost around $290,000 and run on electricity or petrol. The first batch will only be available in the American market. The two-seater will be powered by a rear propeller and fly to a range of over 600km. To prove airworthiness, prototypes have been tested for more than 200 hours in the US, Terrafugia says.

The model won’t be available to just anyone: only those with a pilot’s licence can put down deposits.

And don’t expect too many landings in busy city centres either. Terrafugia says the cars – which have foldable wings and will be manufactured in Hangzhou – require 425 metres of road to take off, so runways will be required at either end of their trips. Take-offs shouldn’t take too long, however: the vehicle is supposedly capable of switching between driving and flying mode in just 40 seconds.

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