Flying Car Completes First-Ever Flight Between Airports –Then Transforms Back into a Sports Car in 3 Minutes

Let the bells ring out in every direction from Toledo to Tokyo. Flying cars—the vision of transportation from science-fiction writers—may finally be landing in the modern world.

In a test flight, a Slovakian pilot drove what appeared to be an exotic sports car up a runway in the city of Nitra.

It then took flight with the aid of a fixed propeller, and landed 35 minutes later at Bratislava, before folding up the wings and driving straight out onto the highway.

During the maiden flight, AirCar was able to reach a cruising speed of 105 mph (170 kph) at an altitude of 8,200 feet (2,500 meters.) Fuel economy would allow it to maintain this trajectory for 600 miles (1,000 kilometers).

Once the flying portion of its journey is over, a push of the button causes a Transformer-like sequence that in under three minutes leaves the vehicle as a slightly-oversized, perfectly road-legal sports car with a 160 horsepower gas-powered BMW engine, a seat for another passenger, and a convertible roof.

WATCH the video…

In order to be certified to fly under modern regulations, planes or helicopters must be safe to fly for many years, without having an incident.

“I have to admit that (the AirCar) looks really cool—but I’ve got a hundred questions about certification,” Dr. Stephen Wright, a research fellow of avionics at the Univ. of West England, told the BBC.  “I can’t wait to see the piece of paper that says this is safe to fly and safe to sell.”

One company did get certified for a flying car this year. Terrafugia, founded in 2006 by five MIT engineering grads, first flew its flying car, the Transition, at a New York airport in Plattsburgh in 2012. Featuring its own parachute and a flight range of around 480 miles, Terrafugia took deposits on pre-orders for 100 vehicles, retailing for around a quarter million dollars each.

Flying car in March - photo by Terrafugia
Terrafugia Transition

After years of product delays and refunding of customers’ deposits, Terrafugia was bought in 2017 by a Chinese company. But, in January they announced that the Transition had finally received a Special Light-Sport Aircraft (LSA) airworthiness certificate from the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration.

At least they proved it is possible to receive FAA certification in the U.S.

Klein Vision has specified that they are looking to take a share out of the aircraft market with the AirCar, not the auto market—and Morgan Stanley estimates the flying car market over the next 20 years will be worth over a trillion dollars, similar to the buzz that arose around the recent boom in private spaceflight.

AirCar by Klein Vision

Klein Vision is looking to upgrade their prototype engine with more power, allowing it a top cruising speed of 186 miles per hour, while other companies like Hyundai, Toyota, and VW are looking into flying cars of their own.

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