Terrafugia Transition flying car takes to the skies

The flying car has finally landed. Well, in this instance it's more the taking off that's important. This could be the beginning of the end for commuter traffic as we take to the skies just as Back to the Future Part 2 predicted. The Terrafugia Transition has made its first public test flights, traversing the skies for 20 minutes at a time.

Despite being not much bigger than a (large) car the wing-folding Terrafugia Transition can go from car to plane in 30 seconds and manages a 115mph flight speed. While cruising at 62mph you'll have a range of 490 miles on a tank of regular unleaded petrol (guzzling at 6.2 miles per litre). But its 35mpg road usage isn't too bad at all.

The key trait of the Transition is that it's road legal, in America at least, thanks to the way it's built. Exemptions were made to the rules to allow for extra weight so as to afford greater safety. The vehicle is made from polycarbonate materials and the screen isn't the usual safety glass so as to avoid shattering if a bird flies into it. The tyres are also larger than normal to absorb the impact of landing and to handle road driving.

At 6m long, 2m tall and 2.3m wide the Transition is small enough to fit in a garage. And with a 1.21m wide cockpit it seats two with luggage. Once the electromechanical wings are expanded - at the touch of a button in just 30 seconds - the 8m wingspan means you will be able to take off with just 518m of runway.

So if you've got a pilot's licence and $280,000 (£180,000) to spare now is the time to go and reserve your very own flying car for an expected release in 2016.