Woburn, MA – June 21, 2016: Terrafugia is pleased to announce that the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has approved our 2014 Petition for Exemption, allowing a vehicle in the Transition® street-legal airplane configuration to be certified as a Light Sport Aircraft (LSA) with a maximum takeoff weight of 1,800 pounds. This is a significant increase over the allowance received in 2010 which granted the Transition® a 1,430 pound weight limit, the same as currently imposed on amphibious LSA.
The 1,800 pound weight is necessary to accommodate structures and systems directly related to the unique safety features of the vehicle. It allows the Transition® to incorporate automotive occupant protection safety features, including a safety cage, energy absorbing crumple zones, and cabin features that are commonplace in today’s automobiles but unavailable in most General Aviation aircraft.
In support of its petition, Terrafugia quantified the potential safety benefits of the Transition®. An analysis of LSA airplane accidents indicated that flying a Transition® instead of the accident airplane could have reduced the severity of injuries in the vast majority of accidents and could have more than halved the number of fatalities. In addition to its automotive safety features, the Transition’s® ability to land and drive in bad weather could have helped to avoid nearly half of the accidents studied.
Terrafugia CEO/CTO Carl Dietrich commented, “The willingness of the FAA to consider safety-driven innovation in novel ways, as evidenced by both this Grant of Exemption and the Part 23 rulemaking that is currently underway, is critical to the advancement of the aviation industry. We look forward to continuing to work with the FAA to develop products that increase both the safety and utility of personal aviation.”
In addition to the increase in takeoff weight, a corresponding stall speed increase was also granted, to accommodate size constraints imposed by road operation.
Terrafugia would like to thank the hundreds of commentators who supported our petition, including our Congressional delegation and key aviation industry groups.
Founded in 2006 by five MIT graduates, Terrafugia (terra-FOO-gee-ah) employs a team of award-winning engineers from top global aviation and automotive institutions, and is supported by a broad network of experienced industry advisors and private investors. Terrafugia’s mission is to create practical flying cars that enable a new dimension of freedom and catalyze a revolution in personal transportation.
More information is available through Docket FAA-2014-0935 on regulations.gov and by contacting Terrafugia at firstname.lastname@example.org.