The first time Carl Dietrich brought his flying-car concept to the Experimental Aircraft Association’s annual AirVenture gathering in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, he had only a video to show the aviation geeks who wandered by his modest stall. The following year, he brought the mock-up of a wing. Six years later, in July 2013, he was finally ready to fly the prototype.
A year after that triumphant flight in Oshkosh, Dietrich, 37, sits in his sparsely decorated office at Terrafugia’s modest headquarters behind a Best Western in Woburn, Massachusetts. He says he first proposed a flying car as a doctoral candidate in aeronautical engineering at the nearby Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he partnered with a pair of Sloan School of Management students and two other engineers (including the woman who’s now his wife) to win second place in the 2006 MIT $100K Entrepreneurship Competition. That same year, Dietrich also won a $30,000 Lemelson-MIT National Collegiate Student Prize, part of which he put toward that initial trip to Oshkosh, where he met his first angel investors and even signed up prospective buyers. Read the article on Bloomberg.