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Early prototype of the Transition. Courtesy photo.




By land and by air
Flying car prototype comes to Nashua

09/06/18



 By Scott Murphy

smurphy@hippopress.com 
 
Beginning next year, New Hampshire residents will start seeing a unique vehicle soaring over the greater Nashua area. Terrafugia in Woburn, Mass., is now leasing 6,700 square feet of hangar and office space at Nashua Airport at Boire Field, where the company will test its first flying car. 
Nashua Airport is a hub for a variety of aviation activities, including training, charter, corporate, military and recreational flights. Additionally, the airport property houses several businesses offering various aviation-related and industrial services.
“We are excited to host Terrafugia’s prototypes and production vehicles,” airport manager Chris Lynch wrote in a statement. “This partnership is bringing the latest innovation in aviation to Nashua while providing a location for the company to upgrade its testing efforts.”
Lynch did not respond to interview requests. 
Terrafugia has spent the last 12 years developing what it claims to be the “world’s first practical flying car.” Dubbed the “Transition,” the company’s current prototype is a two-seat automobile-aircraft hybrid. The vehicle’s wings fold and unfold and allow it to convert between flight and drive modes in under a minute. The Transition runs on regular gas and can fit in the average homeowner’s garage.
Several different prototypes of the Transition are being designed for testing at the airport according to Danielle Kershner, marketing manager of Terrafugia. She added that the vehicle’s design has to comply with both Federal Motor Vehicle safety standards as well as safety requirements established by the Federal Aviation Administration. Current prototypes of the Transition were designed specifically for crash and flight testing. 
Though Nashua is right across the Massachusetts border, the Gate City is still about 45 minutes away from Woburn, Mass. Despite the distance, Kershner said Terrafugia vetted many airports and decided Nashua Airport offered all the amenities Terrafugia needed.
“It was important to find a partner that had the right amount of hangar space, allowed us to flight test and drive test and also was relatively close,” said Kershner. “Nashua hit all those checkboxes and provided us with a hangar and office space to set up operations in line with our needs.”
Terrafugia’s hangar at the airport could house up to eight prototypes and production vehicles once the company kicks its operations into gear in Nashua. Additionally, its office space will host six to 10 employees, including flight test engineers, test pilots and marketing personnel. Eventually, the facility could be used for flight training. 
“Years ago we would test our aircraft at an airport and sit hunched over our laptops in a truck on the tarmac,” wrote Terrafugia test pilot Phil Meteer in a statement. “This next chapter for Terrafugia includes facility upgrades to host several aircraft where we can perform testing on an array of prototypes and production aircraft simultaneously as we ramp up operations.”
Kershner said the company is currently outfitting the hangar and office space and anticipates the first Transition vehicle make its way to Nashua in early 2019. Production of the vehicle is expected to start next year as well. 





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