Terrafugias second prototype of the Transition (D2) is back from flight testing and parked in the garage at headquarters in Woburn, MA.
Quick facts on D2s accomplishments:
- Flight and road testing from 2012 to 2017
- Logged over 212 flight hours
- Verified handling qualities, stability and control, and aircraft performance
- Used to prove out the use of flight and drive controls
- Performed 317 successful landings and takeoffs, including crosswind landings and abused landings
- Tested up to highway speeds in road mode
The original Proof of Concept (PoC) was retired in 2010 after logging just over 8 flight hours. The Terrafugia team analyzed data from the PoC to engineer and design an improved prototype named D2. The improvements found in D2 created an even better driving and flying experience. Some of the high-level enhancements included:
Wing and Wheels:
Most GA (general aviation) aircrafts have 3 wheels which are used for take-off and landing, with two of the wheels located under the center of gravity. The Transitions design to be a roadable aircraft includes 4 wheels. This however created a difficult balance when pulling back on the stick for takeoff. For D2, the team adjusted the angle of the wings and the location relative to the wheels to provide a smooth takeoff that does not require strong pilot input. In fact, the Transition literally leaps off the ground with very little input from the pilot!
As a designated LSA (light sport aircraft), the Transition is a fun, hands-on, and practical vehicle for GA pilots and enthusiasts. To maximize the experience of flying in the Transition, the dashboard location was adjusted, increasing the surface space of the windshield. The D2s increased visibility allows drivers and passengers to fully experience transportation with a birds-eye view more than any other LSA on the market today. In addition, the forward passenger position allows viewing both up (better for landing) and down (better for sightseeing), something that is usually a compromise in most GA aircraft
The logistics of getting in and out of an aircraft shouldnt be something one has to worry about. Yet, many GA aircrafts have only one door that you have to climb into,
or two small doors, creating a difficult (and annoying) process getting settled in pre-flight. The D2 was designed with ease of accessibilityin mind- with two car-size doors and a small step, similar to getting into a car, the hassle of getting in and out of an aircraft is eliminated.
D2 may be retired from flying, but it will still be working hard with Terrafugias engineers to create aneven more optimized design for the roads and flight as we build our next prototype of the Transition.
We wish D2 a Happy Retirement and look back fondly at its first flight at Oshkosh in 2013.