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A car that also doubles up as a plane will soon be a reality. Massachussetts-based company Terrafugia has developed a car-plane and plans to deliver it to its customers by the end of 2011.

Called the ‘Transition’, the car-plane recently cleared a major hurdle when regulator Federal Aviation Administration granted a special weight limit exemption to it, the company said.

It costs $ 194,000, excluding additional charges for options like a radio, GPS and a full-plane parachute. So far, the company has more than 70 orders with deposits.

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“It is the next ‘wow’ vehicle. Anybody can buy a Ferrari, but as we say, Ferraris don’t fly,” Terrafugia vice president Richard Gersh said.

The car has wings that unfold for flying and fold back again for driving. It can take off in about a minute but would need a runway to takeoff and land.

It is designed to fly primarily under 10,000 feet and has a maximum takeoff weight of 1,430 pounds, including fuel and passengers.

Gas mileage on the road is about 30 miles per gallon (12 km/litre). “There is no launch button on the (instrument) panel,” Gersh added.

The company is looking to market Transition to private pilots as a convenient and cheap way to fly. It can be driven on roads and be parked conveniently in a garage at home.

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Terrafugia, founded in 2006 by five Massachusetts Institute of Technology students, said the car-plane reduces the chances of an accident by allowing pilots to drive under bad weather.

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