Science Fiction Is Now A Reality: Flying Car Completes First Ever Inter-City Flight
"Science fiction is now a reality," the press release from Klein Vision, a Slovakian company that has developed a prototype flying car Called AirCar Prototype 1, read. It flew around 80 kilometers, connecting the city of Nitra to Bratislava, the capital of Slovakia.
“Professor Stefan Klein is the world leader in the development of user-friendly Flying Cars,” said Dr. Branko Sarh, Boeing Co. Senior Technical Fellow. “The automated transition from a road vehicle into an air vehicle and vice versa, deploying/retracting wings and tail is not only the result of pioneering enthusiasm, innovative spirit, and courage; it is an outcome of excellent engineering and professional knowledge,” he added.
The car transforms into aircraft in less than 3 minutes
In less than three minutes with the push of a button, the car's wings unfolded. The AirCar can then fly at a speed of 170 km/h, within a radius of 1,000 kilometers and at an altitude of 2,500 meters.
A 1,100kg Aircar can accommodate two people and can carry an additional load of 200kg per flight. On the ground, the wings can retract to the side, and the vehicle then regains a classic car template. Equipped with a BMW engine, it accepts conventional gasoline. It is, therefore, possible to refuel at a gas station.
A historical event took place on June 28 as the Klein Vision flying car successfully completed the 35-minute flight between Nitra Airport and Bratislava in its native country. AirCar Prototype 1 has flown at 8200 ft and reached a maximum cruising speed of 190km/h (103kt).
AirCar Powered by BMW
According to the company, The AirCar is powered by a 1.6-liter BMW engine that generates 160 horsepower with a fixed propeller and a ballistic parachute. The estimated travel range of AirCar is 1,000km and flight consumption of 18 l/h.
40 hours test flights
With this flight, the invention created by Professor Stefan Klein has now completed more than 40 hours of test flights including steep 45 degree turns and stability and maneuverability testing since its first takeoff. After this advance, the European company hopes to capitalize on the demand for air mobility that is forecast in the following years.
AirCar Prototype 2
The company is working on a model called AirCar Prototype 2, which will include an engine with 300 horsepower and receive the EASA CS-23 aircraft certification with an M1 road permit. It is expected to be able to navigate at 300 km/h and have a range of 1,000 kilometers. According to its website, Klein Vision plans to develop three and four-seater AirCar models, as well as twin-engine and amphibious versions.
Potential of flying cars
More and more companies are exploring the potential of flying vehicles despite obstacles, including safety and reliability. Flying vehicles will have to operate in crowded conditions, close to small drones and conventional aircraft, and will also need a regulatory framework that could last for years.
Future of transportation
“This flight starts a new era of dual transportation vehicles. It opens a new category of transportation and returns the freedom originally attributed to cars back to the individual,” said Professor Klein after exiting the AirCar cockpit in Bratislava. “AirCar is no longer just a proof of concept; flying at 8,200ft at a speed of 100kt, it has turned science fiction into a reality.” Added Anton Zajac, the co-founder of Klein Vision.
There is great hope in the fledgling car market, which has long been offered in the long-term future of this type of transport. In 2019, consultant company Morgan Stanley predicts that such vehicles will be worth $1.5trillion by 2040. And this car is also seen as a solution to the burden on existing transportation infrastructure.