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Slovak flying car completing test flight between Nitra and Bratislava, Source: Klein Vision

Slovak-built flying car completes first ever inter-city flight

Slovak-built flying car completes first ever inter-city flight

It took AirCar 35 minutes to get from Nitra airport to Bratislava airport

AirCar, a dual-mode car-aircraft, made headlines by completing a 35-minute test flight between international airports in Nitra and Bratislava, Slovakia on 28 June. After landing, at a click of a button the aircraft folded its wings along its sides, transforming into a sports car in 2 minutes and 15 seconds. Then, under the incredulous gaze of invited reporters, it was driven by its inventor, Professor Stefan Klein and Klein Vision co-founder, Anton Zajac to downtown Bratislava, halving the typical travel time from the airport.

Running on regular petrol

According to a company press release, AirCar has completed over 40 hours of test flights under the supervision of the Civil Aviation Authority, including steep 45 degree turns and stability and maneuverability testing. The latest inter-city flight moves the hybrid prototype closer to production stage.

The flying car boasts a BMW engine, a ballistic parachute and runs on regular petrol-pump fuel like an ordinary car. AirCar Prototype 1 has flown at an altitude of 2500 m and reached a maximum cruising speed of 190km/h thanks to its 160HP engine with fixed-propeller. It can carry two people weighing up to 200 kg, but Klein Vision has also designed a 4-seat version, as well as twin engine and amphibious versions. Unlike drone-taxi prototypes, however, it cannot implement vertical takeoff and landing and requires a runway.

Certification pending

The pre-production model, AirCar Prototype 2, will be equipped with a more powerful 300HP engine with variable pitch propeller, allowing for a maximum cruise speed of 300 km/h and a flight range of 1000 km. Prototype 2 is expected to receive the EASA CS-23 aircraft certification with an M1 road permit, says the company.

“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,” said Professor Klein following touchdown in Bratislava. His partner and investor in the project Anton Zajac added: “AirCar is no longer just a proof of concept; flying at 2500 m at a speed of 190 km/h, it has turned science fiction into a reality.”

High hopes

Indeed, the budding flying car business has left the sci-fi realm and is now heralded as one of the mobility options for the future, capable of reducing the strain on existing transport infrastructures. In a 2019 assessment, Morgan Stanley speculated that the sector could be worth $1.5 trillion by 2040.

Before reaching production stage, however, AirCar and its rivals need to iron out problems with certification under both air and road jurisdictions, ensuring that flying with the futuristic vehicle is safe on par with conventional aircraft.

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