Written by: Bobby Brown
Flying cars have been the staple of fantasy and sci-fi movies like The Jetsons, Back to the Future and Blade Runner for many years. Now it no longer has to live only in the imaginations of writers and Hollywood directors.
AirCar – the brainchild of Slovakia’s Prof Stefan Klein – is roadworthy and has already completed its first long-distance flight, between two of the country’s international airports. With it’s newly acquired airworthy certificate in hand, Prof Klein plans to take the AirCar on it’s first international flight – from London to Paris later this year.
As you can see from the the video below, except for the wing that hides a tail propeller, the AirCar could easily pass for a regular supercar. But at the press of a button the wings unfold from the sides and it’s ready to take off in just over 2-mins, climbing to 8 000 feet at around 160km/h.
Flying cars being winged all over
While it is way ahead of the flying car pack, AirCar may be the first, but it is by no means the last. There’ a German electric vehicle outfit called Lillium, but their flying car suffered a setback last year, when it burst into flames. The same thing happened to Israel’s entry into this burgeoning field, called E-viation.
Uber and Toyota are jointly working on one and GM already has a flying Cadillac concept that looks promising. Then there’s the Dutch outfit Pal-V, which is close on the AirCar’s wheels, having just received road-worthy certification in Europe.
It’s a three-wheeler – gyrocopter hybrid that hopes to start mass production by early next year.
The flying-car market looks so promising that last year, Hyundai funded the English town of Coventry to build a designated port for such vehicles to land and take off from; and there’s an F1 flying car in the making (see below), with the aim of one day having an exclusive racing circuit for such vehicles.
AirCar could be in the wrong lane
The drawback for the AirCar may be that – while super advanced – it could already be behind the times.
Everyone else is working on … and perfecting self-flying passenger drones.
Even Boeing is on board, working with Google co-founder Larry Page on an autonomous air-taxi service, much like the one already operating in Dubai.
Is Elon Musk part of the future of flying cars?
And yes of course there’ speculation – given the fact that he has a rocket AND a car company, that Elon Musk could eventually have a flying Tesla of his own.
All these cars have a few things in common – they are all electric and they plan to eliminate the runway altogether by taking off and landing vertically, anywhere.
Meanwhile, the AirCar uses petrol and works like a conventional plane, which means you will remain stuck in traffic, unless you have a pilot’s license and enough take-off space.
But it will still be a novelty to have a car in your garage that can also take to the skies, while using the word “flight” in reference to a car may remain weird for a little longer.