A Transition.  And in the crisp, early-morning air on March 5th, it made its first flight over a long runway at the Plattsburgh International Airport in New York, looking like a cross between a VW bug and a puddle jumper.

Transition, Photo: Terrafugia

Transition, Photo: Terrafugia

Transition, the “roadable aircraft,” was designed by MIT alum Carl Dietrich’s company, Terrafugia. The first flight lasted 37 seconds and covered about 3000 feet, according to a press release. Retired Air Force colonel Phil Meteer piloted the plane.

“It was apparent to me from the moment of takeoff that I had control of a very stable aircraft,” Meteer reportedly said at a March 18th press conference. “I had a test plan…and after a minute I realized my daughter could do this, it was fun, anyone could do it.”

Delivery of the first $194,000 vehicle is scheduled for 2011, however 40 people have already put down $10,000 deposits to hold their place.

Transition by the numbers:

  • MPH on road: 65
  • MPH in air: 115
  • MPG: 30
  • Amount of time it takes for Tranisition to convert from flight to road configurations: 30 seconds
  • Number of MIT degrees obtained by Terrafugia founder, Carl Dietrich: 3*

*’99, SM ’03, PhD ’07—all degrees are in Aero & Astro