Carl Dietrich Terrafugia’s CEO/CTO, Co-Founder, received his BS, MS and Ph.D. from the Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) shortly after being selected as the 2006 winner of the prestigious Lemelson-MIT Student Prize for Innovation. Carl was additionally recognized by the Aero/Astro Department at MIT as one of sixteen exceptional graduates under the
age of 35. Carl has also been named as one of the Boston Business Journal’s “40 Under 40” in 2009. He has been a private pilot since the age of seventeen.
Terrafugia (ter-ra-FOO-gee-ah) was founded in 2006 by award-winning MIT-trained aeronautical engineers and MBA’s – who also happen to be passionate private pilots. The company’s mission is to provide innovative solutions to the challenges facing personal aviation. The result: the Transition® Roadable Aircraft. Taking advantage of new FAA regulations in the Light Sport Aircraft category, Terrafugia developed the Transition® to provide pilots the convenience of a dual-purpose vehicle. Its unique design allows the Transition® to fold its wings and drive on any surface road with a modern personal airplane platform. Once at the airport, the wings extend and the aircraft is ready for take-off. Both folding and extending the wings is done from inside the cockpit.The Transition® addresses head-on the issues private and sports pilots face: cost, weather sensitivity, high overall door-to-door travel time and a lack of mobility at destination. In July of 2008 Terrafugia returned to EAA AirVenture in Oshkosh, WI with a completed Proof of Concept Transition® vehicle. Powered testing of the Proof of Concept has began in the second half of 2008. After safely achieving speeds around 100 miles per hour on the ground, the Transition® Proof of Concept successfully completed its flight test program in Plattsburgh, New York. Lessons learned from testing, optimization, aesthetic design and design for manufacturing have been ongoing from the completion of flight testing in Summer of 2009.
Construction, testing and certification of the next generation Prototype are now underway. First customer delivery of a Transition® Roadable Aircraft is expected to occur in 2011.