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Terrafugia, Inc.
IndustryAircraft manufacturing
Founded2006; 15 years ago (2006)
FounderCarl Dietrich
Anna Mracek Dietrich
Samuel Schweighart
Alex Min
Arun Prakash
Woburn, Massachusetts
United States
Key people
Charlie Jing, CEO
Carl Dietrich, CTO
Huaibing Wang CFO
Kevin Colburn, VP Operations
Josh Elvander, Vice President Engineering[1]
ParentZhejiang Geely Holding Group

Terrafugia[2] (/ˌtɛrəˈfiə/) is a Chinese-owned corporation, based in Woburn, Massachusetts, United States that is developing a roadable aircraft called the Transition and a flying car called the TF-X. The Transition and TF-X are designed to be able to fold their wings, enabling the vehicles to also operate as street-legal road vehicles. First delivery of the Transition is expected in 2019.[3]

Founding and financial history

Terrafugia was founded by graduates of the Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and graduates of the MIT Sloan School of Management. Their team and business plan was the runner-up for the 2006 MIT $100K Entrepreneurship Competition. Terrafugia was then incorporated May 1, 2006, with much of the initial funding coming from CEO and founder Carl Dietrich's US$30,000 Lemelson-MIT Student Prize. The first round of convertible note financing began at EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2006 and closed December 21, 2006, raising US$258,215.[4][5] Five additional rounds of convertible note financing followed. The first round of equity financing closed in 2008 and raised US$1,531,323.[6] Another round of equity financing was initially planned for 2009; the second and third rounds of equity financing raised US$2,037,680 in May, 2010 and US$960,418 in Dec, 2010.[7][8] Another equity offering of US$3.5 million was reported in May, 2012 of which $1,020,369 had been sold.[9][10] In October 2008, Terrafugia reported seeking reservations for airframe number 57 representing an order book of more than US$8 million.[11][12] In March 2009, the company had received fewer than 35 aircraft reservations, but by September 2009, they had doubled that to 70;[13] as of December 2011, 100 reservations were on deposit representing potential revenues above US$25 million.[14]

Production prototype Transition

In July 2017 the company was purchased by the Zhejiang Geely Holding Group, a Chinese corporate conglomerate that also owns the Volvo and Lotus Cars automobile companies, with the purchase finalized in November 2017.[15][16]

The company started 2017 with 20 employees and hired 75 more people during the year. It planned to hire an additional 50 people by December 2018. During that period the company increased the staffing levels at its Woburn, Massachusetts, headquarters, expanding the work force in engineering, accounting, human resources, marketing and also operations. A new research and development division was also established in Petaluma, California, intended to undertake all future engineering tasks.[17]

In September, 2018, Terrafugia replaced Carl Dietrich as CEO with Chris Jaran.[18][19] Dietrich remained in the CTO position. In April 2019, the company replaced CEO Chris Jaran with Chao Jing. Huaibing Wang became CFO.[20] Dietrich announced his departure from Terrafugia at the same time.[21]

Transition roadable aircraft

Main page: Engineering:Terrafugia Transition

Terrafugia originally expected initial deliveries of the Transition light sport aircraft in 2015 or 2016.[22][23] The estimated purchase price was originally announced as US$194,000[24] and was increased to US$279,000 as of December 2011.[25] As a light sport aircraft, the pilot will be required to hold a Sport Pilot or higher certificate, which requires a minimum of 20 hours of dual instruction to obtain, as well as passing an FAA oral and practical examination. Owners will be able to drive amidst normal street traffic from their garage to an airport where the wings can be deployed for take-off and flight within a range of 460 miles (740 km; 400 nmi). It will carry two people plus luggage and will operate on a single tank of premium unleaded gas.[26] The design of the production version was made public at AirVenture Oshkosh on 26 July 2010 and no longer included a front canard.[27]

The Transition Proof-of-Concept's maiden flight on 5 March 2009 lasted 37 seconds and covered 3,000 feet (910 m) of the runway at the Plattsburgh International Airport.[28] The test pilot then conducted 6 additional takeoffs and landings.[24]

In June 2010, the FAA granted Terrafugia an exemption for the Transition's extra takeoff weight.[29] The added weight accommodates the Transition's road safety features, which is needed to comply with Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards.[29] On June 29, 2011, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration also granted exemptions allowing the Transition to use a polycarbonate windshield, to use tires suited for highway and aircraft use but not typically certified for multi-purpose vehicle use, to not include an electronic stability control system that could inadvertently cut engine power during flight, and finally, to use regular instead of advanced airbag deployment.[30]

After undergoing drive tests and high-speed taxi tests, the production prototype completed its first flight on March 23, 2012 at Plattsburgh, New York.[31][32][33] The production prototype then made its auto show debut at the 2012 New York International Auto Show in April, 2012.[34] In June, 2012, Terrafugia announced that the Transition had completed the first of six phases of flight testing.[35][36] By July, the second phase of testing was underway, expanding the performance envelope in the sky and continuing drive testing on the ground.[37]

The company's next-generation concept, the TF-2, is an aircraft that will carry both cargo and passenger loads.[38]

DARPA Transformer (TX) Project

Transformer (TX) is a DARPA US$65m, five year, three phase program[39] intended to develop a 'flying Humvee'. A Phase 1 proposal from AAI Corporation was awarded a US$3m contract in September, 2010[40] and incorporates deployable surfaces technology from subcontractor Terrafugia.[41][42]

Terrafugia TF-X

Main page: Engineering:Terrafugia TF-X

On May 7, 2013, Terrafugia announced the successor of Transition, called the TF-X. TF-X is a plug-in hybrid tilt-rotor vehicle and would be the first fully autonomous flying car. It has a range of 500 miles (800 km; 430 nmi) per flight and batteries are rechargeable by the engine. It is expected to hit the market at least six years after Transition (2023).


  1. Terrifugia (2018). "Terrifugia's Leadership Team". 
  2. "TERRAFUGIA, INC. Summary Screen". The Commonwealth of Massachusetts, Secretary of the Commonwealth, Corporations Division. Retrieved 2009-04-06. 
  3. "Have Questions?". Terrafugia. Retrieved 2017-04-10. 
  4. Terrafugia (2007-02-14). "Upcoming 2007 Events". Terrafugia Newsletter (4). Archived from the original on 2009-03-25. Retrieved 2009-03-23. 
  5. "Terrafugia SEC Form D 2007-01-04". Archived from the original on 2016-04-08. 
  6. "Terrafugia SEC Form D 2008-11-11". Archived from the original on 2016-04-07. 
  7. "Terrafugia SEC Form D 2010-05-18". 
  8. "Terrafugia SEC Form D 2010-12-23". 
  9. "Terrafugia SEC Form D 2012-05-24". 
  10. Seiffert, Don (May 25, 2012). "Terrafugia gets $1M, tests flying car". Mass High Tech Business News. Archived from the original on May 31, 2012. Retrieved June 5, 2012. 
  11. "AOPA Reporting Points, Flying car or pipe dream?, Carl Dietrich". Archived from the original on 2008-10-28. 
  12. Foege, Alan (2008-12-08). "The car of the future: It flies". CNN. Retrieved 2009-03-23. 
  13. Carl Dietrich, Terrafugia CEO; Evelyn Rusli, Forbes (2009-09-29). Inside Terrafugia's Flying Car (Adobe Flash) (Podcast). Event occurs at 1m10s. Retrieved 2009-10-29. Since the Transition's first flight in March, the number of orders has more than doubled to 70.
  14. Hussey, Matt (2011-12-31). "Wait no longer: the flying car is finally ready for takeoff". Retrieved April 4, 2012. 
  15. Grady, Mary (5 July 2017). "Report: Terrafugia Sold To Chinese Conglomerate". AVweb. Retrieved 7 July 2017. 
  16. Krok, Andrew (13 November 2017). "Volvo parent Geely acquires flying-car startup Terrafugia". Retrieved 14 November 2017. 
  17. Grady, Mary (10 April 2018). "Terrafugia Adds 125 Jobs". AVweb. Retrieved 17 April 2018. 
  18. Polachi, Charley. "Terrafugia Names Chris Jaran as Chief Executive Officer". Retrieved 30 September 2018. 
  19. Rocco, Matthew (27 September 2018). "World's first flying car about to go on sale". Fox Business News. 
  20. Cook, Marc (8 April 2019). "Carl Dietrich Out, Chao Jing In As Terrafugia CEO". AVweb. 
  21. Baldwin, Alan (9 April 2019). "Co-founder Carl Dietrich leaves Terrafugia". 
  22. Dietrich, Carl. "CEO, Terrafugia". Terrafugia. Archived from the original on 2011-08-16. Retrieved 30 June 2011. 
  23. Welsh, Jonathan. "Flying Car Slowed by Roadblocks". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 27 June 2013. 
  24. 24.0 24.1 Roush, Wade (2009-03-18). "Terrafugia Achieves Maiden Flight". Xconomy. Retrieved 2009-03-18. 
  25. Durbin, Dee-Ann (April 3, 2012). "Terrafugia flying cars cost $279,000 each, already have 100 pre-orders (+video)". The Christian Science Monitor. Associated Press. Retrieved April 4, 2012. 
  26. Harris, Mark (January 11, 2009). "World’s first flying car prepares for take-off". The Times (London). Retrieved 2009-03-19. 
  27. ""Flying Car" Moves Closer to First Delivery". Terrafugia. 2010-07-26. Archived from the original on 7 July 2012. Retrieved 27 July 2010. 
  28. Page, Lewis (18 March 2009). "World's first proper flying car makes debut flight". The Register. Retrieved 2009-03-18. 
  29. 29.0 29.1 Grady, Mary (23 June 2010). "FAA Grants Extra Weight To Terrafugia". AVweb. Retrieved 2010-08-03. 
  30. Department of Transportation National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (2011-06-29). "Terrafugia, Inc.; Grant of Application for Temporary Exemption From Certain Requirements of FMVSS No. 110, Tire Selection and Rims for Motor Vehicles, FMVSS No. 126, Electronic Stability Control Systems, FMVSS No. 205, Glazing Materials, and FMVSS No. 208, Occupant Crash Protection". Federal Register 76 (125): 38270–38279. 76 FR 38270. Retrieved 30 June 2011. "Docket No. NHTSA-2010-0154". 
  31. "First Flight for Terrafugia". Retrieved 2 April 2012. 
  32. "Major Milestone takes "Flying Car" Closer to First Delivery". April 2, 2012. Archived from the original on March 23, 2013. Retrieved April 2, 2012. 
  33. Jim Patten (25 March 2012). "Flying car road tested at Lawrence Municipal Airport". Retrieved 25 March 2012. 
  34. Welsh, Jonathan (April 5, 2012). "Flying Car Maker Offers ‘Show Special’ Discount". Driver's Seat (Wall St. Journal). Retrieved 2012-07-30. 
  35. "Phase 1 Flight Testing a Success for Transition Street-Legal Airplane". Terrafugia. Archived from the original on 7 July 2012. Retrieved 28 June 2012. 
  36. Jonathan Welsh (28 June 2012). "‘Flying Car’ Completes First Round of Flight Tests". Retrieved 1 July 2012. 
  37. "Terrafugia’s Transition street-legal airplane continues flight and drive testing". Terrafugia. Archived from the original on 13 March 2013. Retrieved 30 July 2012. 
  38. "Terrafugia Adds 125 Jobs - AVweb flash Article". 
  39. Baratti, L. Flying car company tagged for Transformer tactical vehicle team Exec Digital, 18 December 2010. Accessed: 27 December 2010.
  40. "Award Notice". 2010-09-27. "Contract Award Number: FA865010C7068 Contract Award Dollar Amount: 3049562 Contractor Awardee: AAI CORPORATION, 124 INDUSTRY LN, HUNT VALLEY MD 21030-3342" 
  41. Huang, Gregory T. Terrafugia, Aurora Flight Sciences, Metis Design take wing in $65M DARPA program to design Flying Humvee Xconomy, 2 December 2010. Accessed: 16 December 2010.
  42. McKeegan, Noel. Terrafugia to contribute DARPA flying car program GizMag, 30 November 2010. Accessed: 16 December 2010.

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