Back to the Future's DeLorean DMC-12 is still a sexier ride than Terrafugia's flying car, but the company's Transition aircraft was just awarded with a few exemptions from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration that allows them to get their dual-use vehicle on the road and in the air hopefully late next year. The first batch of flying cars will be legal on the blacktop and will be skybound since they fall under the FAA's Light Sport Aircraft category. Whoa.
The multi-purpose vehicles will consist of lightweight polycarbonate windows, special tires, Formula One–style suspension, computer-based avionics, and a pair of 10-foot-wide wings that fold out for air travel. The whole thing will actually fit inside a standard size garage, which means Buffy and Brad can store theirs neatly in the McMansion while the kids use the Beemer. So what kind of license do you need to drive one of these bad boys? Your sport-pilot license requires 20 hours of training, that you have a grasp of the English language, be at least 17 years-old, and that you hold a valid US drivers license, among other things. Most importantly, you need guts since people will either be envious of your flying powers, or think you're a complete tool for driving one of these things -- at least until they become more visible to the general public.
If you have a spare $250,000 hanging around (the company's estimated price tag), and you're still fantasizing about the ways you can woo Milla Jovovich à la The Fifth Element, 2012 is going to be a damn good year for you.