From classic science fiction to cartoons like the Jetsons, the idea of flying cars has been dancing in creative minds for decades.
Reality may have really arrived.
A flying car that can reach speeds of 100 mph while flying up to 8,000 feet has received approval from the Slovakian transport authority.
According to Klein Vision, the company that built the machine, the certificate of airworthiness comes after the AirCar has completed 70 hours of rigorous flight testing.
“This flight starts a new era of dual transport vehicles,” said Stefan Klein after successfully flying one of the test flights last summer. “It opens up a new category of transportation and returns to the individual the freedom originally attributed to cars.”
The test flights included more than 200 take-offs and landings and met European Aviation Safety Agency standards, the company said.
“AirCar is no longer just a proof of concept,” said Anton Zajac, co-founder of the company. “It has made science fiction a reality.”
So what exactly are we talking about?
The AirCar is a hybrid car-aircraft with a BMW engine that runs on traditional gasoline. The three-wheeled vehicle takes about 135 seconds to change from a car to an airplane before flying.
“The automated transition from road vehicle to air vehicle and vice versa, the folding and unfolding of wings and tail is not only the result of pioneering enthusiasm, innovative spirit and courage,” said Dr. Branko Smith, senior technical fellow at Boeing. “It is the result of excellent engineering and professional knowledge.”
Due to his flying skills, a licensed pilot must be at the wheel.
The company showed the vehicle last June during one of its test flights from two airports in Slovakia, Nitra and Bratislava. Video of that flight was posted to YouTube and has been viewed more than 6 million times.
The company said it plans to fly from London to Paris in the coming weeks or months.
The AirCar isn’t the first of its kind to be certified, but aviation experts are excited about the prospects.
“If the company involved in the certification has made the business case, it will make progress in creating a product that can reach the market,” said Kyriakos Kourousis, president of the Royal Aeronautical Society’s Airworthiness & Maintenance Specialist Group. , to CNN.
He added that in addition to the wow factor, there are other substantial benefits.
“It’s the scale that will create a lot of new opportunities for employment and for the development of new technologies,” Kourousis said.
René Molnár, the director of the Transport Authority of Slovakia, told the Daily Mail that his agency has been closely monitoring AirCar development from its inception in 2017.
“The certification was both a fascinating and challenging task,” he said.
The company has not released details about the potential cost of an AirCar or when it will be available to the public.
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