A future with flying cars hasn’t quite panned out as we imagined from films like Blade Runner or Back to the Future, but the dream lives on. This week, a Slovakian company known as Klein Vision took its prototype “AirCar” flying vehicle on a milestone 35-minute flight, then landed and drove home.
The vehicle’s inventor, pilot, and driver, professor Stefan Klein, has been working on the hybrid aircraft for nearly 30 years and continues to inch closer to making the AirCar a reality. The company created a dual-mode car that transforms into an airplane, and you can see it in action from the video below.
As they try to reach milestones and clear the prototype phase, the AirCar went on a 35-minute inner-city flight from one airport to another. Fascinating, isn’t it?
This isn’t the first flight or even the 100th. In fact, Klein has clocked 142 successful takeoffs and landings, with over 40 hours of test flights in the prototype. The pilot has done maneuverability tests, turned at 45-degrees, and flown to heights of 8,200 ft.
Powered by a 160HP BMW engine, there’s a fixed-propeller around the back capable of reaching cruising speeds of 170km/h and maxes out around 190km/h. And yes, there’s a ballistic parachute on the back in case of an emergency.
After landing, at the press of a button, the aircraft transforms into a sports car, which takes just over two minutes. The wings fold up, and the tail tucks in, where you can drive it like a normal car. Klein believes it’s ready to go from concept to reality and hit the road and skies.
Moving forward, the company also has the AirCar Prototype 2, which is a pre-production model fitted with a 300-horsepower engine. It already received an EASA CS-23 aircraft certification with an M1 road permit. That said, regulatory approvals and safety measures are difficult to work through, and that’s not to mention all the eventual hurdles in the United States.