Slovakian company Klein Vision just completed a successful 35-minute “AirCar” flight this week, marking the flying car concept far more a “reality” than ever before.
The dual-mode car aircraft completed its 142nd milestone flight landing in Bratislava, Slovakia, at 6:05am on 28 June, driven by its creators, Professor Stefan Klein and Anton Zajac.
By the click of a button upon landing the vehicle, the aircraft can transform into a sports car within three minutes.
“AirCar is no longer just a proof of concept; flying at 8,200 feet at a speed of 100kt, it has turned science fiction into a reality,” said Anton Zajac, the co-founder of Klein Vision.
Stefan Klein has been involved in numerous prototypes of flying cars since 1989, first developing concepts at his old company, AeroMobil.
However, in 2016, Mr Klein decided to pursue his own concept solution, therefore creating the “user-friendly” AirCar, first developed in 2017.
The AirCar currently consists of two prototypes: AirCar Prototype 1 is equipped with a 160hp BMW engine, fixed propeller and a ballistic parachute.
It has completed over 40 hours of flight tests under the Civil Aviation Authority, enduring durability examinations, such as making 45-degree turns, and stability maneuvering testing.
Currently, the first prototype has flown 8,200 feet and can reach a maximum speed of 190 kilometres per hour – Klein Vision’s lower-range concept.
However, the Prototype 2 is armed with a 300hp engine and is expected to have a cruise speed of 300 kilometres per hour. Under the EASA CS-23 certification, the flying car will receive an M1 road permit.
The AirCar has retractable wings and folding tail surfaces which will assist in stability during flight and landing.
Flying cars have been almost a century-long anticipated concept, since 1936 when Henry Ford developed an experimental single-seat aircraft, the “sky flivver”. However, he abandoned it after two years when a pilot died during flight.
Although the concept failed, in 1940, Ford predicted: “Mark my word: a combination airplane and motorcar is coming. You may smile, but it will come.”
Despite initial concepts from Ford, and mostly European companies, they often either failed, are now in exhibitions, or vaguely resemble the modern concept of a flying car.
While these concepts often come and go, it seems the AirCar is here to stay, and industry sources agree.
Hyundai Motors Europe CEO Michael Cole said at an industry event this week that flying cars will be in service by the end of the “decade”, as they “offer great opportunity to free up congestion in cities” and can contribute to environmental protection.
The concept has been widely heralded in television for decades, and despite the intrigue into this idealistic concept, there has been debate on whether its performance would be safe or accessible.