Excuse us for asking, but what’s taking the concept of a flying car so long to, uh, get off the ground? A “roadable aircraft” has been a geek’s dream since the idea first surfaced in the early 1900s. Even Henry Ford predicted that a flying car was inevitable. However, the idea has lingered in relative obscurity — that is, until recently. Next year, Massachusetts-based Terrafugia says it expects to begin delivering the Transition, a small aircraft you could drive home from the airport. And Terrafugia isn’t alone, as several other innovators are about to unveil vehicles that are ready to fly and drive. Here, we spotlight three classic aerocars and six that are just coming out, or are close to it.
In 2012, you could arrive at your next business meeting in a Transition. Customer deliveries of this roadable, light-sport aircraft are expected to begin next year, pending final highway crash-safety tests. Terrafugia was founded in 2006 by a group of MIT-trained aeronautical engineers and entrepreneurs who also are pilots. The Transition has wings that fold and unfold at the push of a button while the pilot remains in the cockpit. Drive it from home to the airport, take off and land, and then drive to your final destination, all in one vehicle.