Look, Up in the sky! It’s a bird! It’s a plane! No – this time, it’s a car.
Klein Vision has completed a test flight on their dual-mode car-aircraft in a landmark event for fans of futuristic aviation. The aircraft, called AirCar, made a 35-minute flight between Bratislava and Nitra international airports in Slovakia.
After landing, AirCar transformed into its sports car function and escorted Klein Vision co-founder Anton Zajac and inventor Professor Stefen Klein to downtown Bratislava.
Following the successful journey, Zajac commented,
“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”.
Flying cars, air taxis – are we at the beginning of a new era for urban flight?
Aircar’s spectacular flight marks a key milestone in Klein Vision’s development plans. The AirCar Prototype 1 has now having landed 142 times successfully with over 40 hours of test flights. Despite its unusual appearance, the model is rapidly progressing towards its production goals.
The aircraft/car hybrid proved that neither of its dimensions lacks capability on the latest Bratislava flight. It’s proven capable of reaching a maximum cruising speed of 190km/h while also previously reaching altitudes of 8200ft. The next model in the AirCar range, Prototype 2, will have a range extending to 621 miles and a cruise speed of 300km/h.
Meanwhile, the AirCar Prototype 2 may well excite car fanatics as well. The hybrid will have a 300-horsepower engine and M1 road permit alongside its EASA CS-23 aircraft certification, enabling it for use on the road. Also, the transformation function will facilitate seamless conversion to car mode – retracting its tail and becoming more compact for driving.
But in a market where more and more startups are launching innovative flight solutions, how does AirCar stand out? Klein Vision’s focus on the ability to switch between road usage and flight simply and quickly distinguishes it from different tech innovations such as eVTOL (electric vertical takeoff and landing) and UAM (urban air mobility) aircraft.
To enable the simple transformation Klein Vision equipped AirCar with retractable wings and folding tail surfaces, which will increase longitudinal stability. In addition, the team designed the fuselage to maintain aerodynamic while also allowing ample space for passengers – an essential feature for long drives.
Following the latest flight, Boeing Senior Technical Fellow, Dr Branko Sahr commented,
“The automated transition from 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”.
AirCar’s latest flight footage demonstrates a concept that is rooted in a futuristic vision many have dreamed about for years. However, whether flying cars become a reality or not, the technical capability showed by Klein Vision are intriguing.
And according to Zajac:
“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”.
Words by Jonathan Ritchie