Is it a car? Is it a plane? ... YES

Seven years after its initial design hit the drawing board, the Terrafugia (terra-FOO-gee-ah) Transition, a compact flying car, has made its public debut at the huge AirVenture show in Oshkosh, Wisconsin.

Part sedan, part private plane, the Transition is powered by a 75kW ‘flat’ four cylinder Rotax aero engine, which drives the rear wheels on the ground, and the single, rear-mounted propeller in the air.

Right on cue, the car drove to the runway apron at Oshkoch’s Wittman airfield before its automated, electro-mechanical folding wings extended to their flying position (in 60 seconds). The plane then made two faultless, 20-minute flight demonstrations.

The two seat Transition is capable of 112km/h on road and 185km/h in the air. Owners will have to have a pilot's license, and complete 20 hours of flying time to be able to fly it.

Massachusetts-based Terrafugia is aiming for an on-sale in 2015, with a sticker price of US$300,000.

A sleeker, four-seat TF-X model is also in planning, using wing rotors to allow vertical take-off, and do away with the need for an airport runway.

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