The flying cars are here! Sorta…

The Terrafugia Transition flying car has generated buzz recently after completing flight tests and getting a favorable ruling from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). But the Transition is just the latest manifestation of a long-running fantasy. Almost as long as there have been automobiles, drivers have wished their cars could fly. Whether it was to avoid a traffic jam or just get to a destination faster, the idea of combining cars and planes has always been appealing. But the two modes of transport don’t necessarily blend well.

The Terrafugia, a small airplane that can drive on roads and has been billed as the first “flying car,” is now one step closer to becoming street- and sky-legal. The vehicle has cleared a FAA regulatory hurdle for craft classification by weight. A full-fledged production prototype might be just around the corner, according to multiple reports.

At issue was Mass.-based company Terrafugia wanting its Transition vehicle to be classified as a “Light Sport Aircraft” by the FAA so people eager to fly it would need only 20 hours of flying time. Yet the two-seater vehicle came in 110 pounds (50 kilograms) overweight in accommodating roadworthy-assuring safety items such as crumple zones. The FAA said that so long as customers are advised about this extra weight, the car-plane hybrid can be sold.

The Terrafugia completed its maiden voyage last March in upstate New York. According to its maker, the Terrafugia can transform from a roadable vehicle that can hit a highway speed of 65 mph to a winged aircraft in 30 seconds. The plane version can cruise at about 115 mph (185 kph) and cover about 400 miles (644 kilometers) worth of turf before needing a refill of regular unleaded gas .The price of a Terrafugia is expected to be around $200,000 and deliveries could start next year, assuming the vehicle passes crash tests. The company has envisioned its vehicle as finding a home with amateur pilots who live near air fields, but as any Jetsons’ fan knows, flying cars might well be the wave of the future.

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LeBron James going to the Lakers?

No, but that’s Tiger Woods’ pipedream. He may just be throwing this out there to distract us from other stuff, but Tiger Woods, for some reason, believes that LeBron James should end up with the Los Angeles Lakers. According to some reports, James is currently talking with Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh about possibly going to the Miami Heat, as you know if you get your up-to-the-minute Verizon LeBron James rumors text messages like I do. But then, a voice came from the clouds. And Tiger said:

Yeah, actually I would love to see him go to the Lakers,” the world’s top golfer said. “I’m an L.A. guy, can’t help it. That would be interesting, wouldn’t it?

Erhm. No, it wouldn’t be interesting. At all. Either way, LeBron makes his decision tomorrow, as July 1st is the NBA’s cutoff time.

Verizon? January? iPhone?

Verizon Wireless will be selling the iPhone in January, according to a report filed by Bloomberg. Representatives from both Apple and Verizon did not comment on the matter, but Bloomberg is extremely confident about this one having verified it with two sources “who declined to be named because the information isn’t public.” Let’s just hope this Verizon iPhone has a better antenna system than the iPhone 4 as we know it.

The iPhone, which has been the sole domain of rival AT&T in the U.S. since June 2007, will give Verizon a boost in its competition for smartphone customers, UBS AG analyst John Hodulik said in an interview. Verizon customers, who numbered 92.8 million at the end of the first quarter, may buy 3 million iPhones a quarter, he estimates. “Apple is going to dramatically increase the number of devices it sells in the U.S. when exclusivity at AT&T ends,” said Hodulik, who is based in New York and rates Verizon shares “neutral.” “It’s hard to ignore the quality issues that AT&T has faced.”