July 2, 2012 at 12:49 PM ET
A first-of-its kind street-legal airplane has wrapped up phase one of a six-stage flight test program, bringing us closer to the day when we can buy one for a mere $279,000.
The development of the contraption was announced six years ago by Worburn, Mass., based Terrafugia, a company founded by pilots and engineers from MIT.
The team plans to conduct road and flight tests through the summer in order to gain certification from air and road safety governing groups. First customer deliveries are expected by the end of 2012.
The Terrafugia is technically a roadable aircraft. It’s an airplane that takes off and lands at the airport but can be driven on city streets once its wings are folded and stowed. The wing folding is accomplished with the push of a button.
The phase I flight test program was conducted at Plattsburgh International Airport in New York. “It’s a real airplane; we’re flying it whenever we want, for as long as we want,” CEO Carl Dietrich said in a statement.
John Roach is a contributing writer for msnbc.com. To learn more about him, check out his website and follow him on Twitter. For more of our Future of Technology series, watch the featured video below.