Air Car, a hybrid car-aircraft designed by Slovakian startup Klein Vision, has just been awarded a certificate of airworthiness by the Slovak Transport Authority, giving it the green light to begin mass production. Inventor and test pilot, Professor Stefan Klein enthused, “It is official and the final confirmation of our ability to change mid-distance travel forever.”
This marvel of engineering can transform from a two-seater sports car into a flight-ready aircraft in just 2 minutes and 15 seconds. Powered by a 1.6L BMW engine, AirCar has already completed 70 hours of flight testing, as well as over 200 takeoffs and landings.
In a scene that could have been straight out of a Transformers movie, Klein showed off the capabilities of his invention in a June 2021 test flight. After a successful landing following a 35-minute trip from Slovakia’s Nitra to Bratislava airports, the professor simply pressed a button to retract the wings and drove the car into the city center.
Klein Vision says that during test flights AirCar “demonstrated an astonishing static and dynamic stability in the aircraft mode. The takeoff and landing procedures were achieved even without the pilot’s need to touch the flight controls.”
Achieving this milestone wasn’t simple. In fact, according to a Klein Vision’s spokesperson it took a team of 8 highly skilled specialists and over 100,000 manhours for the project to come to life. The team first turned the design drawings into 3D models, which were then subjected to wind tunnel testing. Full sized prototypes were then tested, ultimately resulting in the current 1000kg 2-seat dual-mode model.
Developers hope to begin commercial distribution within the next 12 months. However, if you’re hoping to be first in line to take one for a spin, take note: the vehicle does require a pilot’s license to operate. That is also, of course, if you aren’t scared off by the price tag. A base model will start around $550K USD, and if you need more bells and whistles, expect to pay upwards of $1.1 mln USD. “If you want a model with the latest GPS or the most current technology, for example, it will cost more,” the Klein Vision spokesperson says.
Then again, for something as groundbreaking as a flying car, that might seem a small price to pay. Ready to fly straight into the future? Yes, please!