A flying car has completed its first inter-city flight in Slovakia on the 28th of June 2021; a milestone its creators claim is “turning science fiction into a reality.”
The flying “AirCar” designed by visionary Slovak designer Stefan Klein has completed an 80 km flight from Nitra to Bratislava in thirty-five minutes. Professor Stefan Klein, who is also the founder of Klein Vision – the company behind this technological advance- has driven it straight off the runway and into town upon arrival, watched by invited reporters as he was slowing down into the streets of Bratislava, the capital of Slovakia.
This university professor of transportation design has been working on this concept of flying cars since the regime in 1989. He completed the flying prototype of AirCar that was already tested successfully at Nitra airport in October 2019.
This flight was the first even performed between two international airports, imitating a ride carried out by a common car. It is also the longest flight in the distance and the 142nd landing performed by this engine.
After the flight, the vehicle underwent a mandatory after-flight check then was transformed into a sports car in two minutes and 15 seconds as its narrow wings folded down along the sides of the car. It continued to the city center on the ground to demonstrate all of its modes.
When he arrived at his final destination, Stefan Klein described his experience, early in the morning, as “very pleasant.” Its flying car, “the AirCar prototype One,” had flown at an average speed of 170 km/h during the flight. It boasts a 160 horsepower BMW engine with a fixed propeller and a ballistic parachute. Before the flight, this model had already completed more than forty hours of test flights, in which it has flown at 8,200 ft. (or 2500 kilometers).
“With today’s flight, we wanted to demonstrate the capabilities of this experimental prototype as well as prove that idea behind this means of transportation is realistic,” Klein said to astonished local media.
In some aspects, this AirCar is not indeed that different from our cars: It runs on regular petrol-pump fuel and can fly about 1,000 km. It can carry two people, with a combined weight limit of 200 kg (or 31 stones). When parked in a parking place, its volume is comparable to a classic car.
Likewise, it is similar to private planes: Dr. Stephen Wright, senior research fellow in avionics and aircraft at the University of the West of England, described the AirCar as “the lovechild of a Bugatti Veyron and a Cessna 172”. For him, the vehicle would not be “particularly loud or uneconomical in terms of fuel costs, compared with other aircraft.” He adds: “Anyone can make an airplane, but the trick is making one that flies and flies and flies for the thick end of a million hours, with a person on board, without having an incident.”
Anton Zajac, the co-founder of Klein Vision, emphasizes the positive features of this flying car and particularly on its convenient aspects: “with AirCar, you will arrive at your destination without the hassle of getting a ride to [the] airport and passing through commercial security […] you can drive your AirCar to the golf course, the office, the mall or your hotel and park it in a normal parking space”.
This is not the only advantage this new AirCar might have compared to its rivals, cars and planes alike: flying cars has indeed been a long-term aspiration for people. Such vehicles can play a key role in reducing congestion globally. But it also offers an alternative to the old model people are used to driving and how they do it. As Stefan Klein says, his 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”. Besides, AirCar’s investment cost (£1,7m) is not exorbitant, and it does not kick it out of the competition.
For these reasons, the AirCar Prototype One’s future seems to be promising: according to Anton Zajac, adviser and investor in Klein Vision, the company “could attract a small percentage of global airline or taxi sales, and they are already about 40,000 orders of aircraft in the US alone”. The company’s development is also promising in technological advances. They plan to develop a second-generation vehicle called the AirCar Prototype Two to double the AirCar Prototype One’s horsepower. It will also have a range of 1,000 km at 300 kph. But before being marketed, the AirCar One will have to show that it is perfectly safe for customers. Let us hope that this will be guaranteed in a short time!
Flying car completes test flight between airports – BBC News
bne IntelliNews – Slovakia’s flying car makes history
Could this flying car be the future of intercity travel? (siliconrepublic.com)
Flying car completes 35-minute flight between Slovakian airports (traveldailymedia.com)