A futuristic flying car (AirCar) that can reach heights of more than 8,000ft and speeds over 100mph is one step closer to going on sale.
That’s because the dual-mode ‘AirCar’ craft, which can transform from a road vehicle into a plane in under three minutes, is now officially certified to fly after passing safety tests in Slovakia.
It was awarded its new status after completing more than 200 take-offs and landings during 70 hours of rigorous flight testing to European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) standards.
AirCar’s developers said the tests included the full range of flight and performance manoeuvres, before adding that the craft ‘demonstrated an astonishing static and dynamic stability in the aircraft mode’.
They said AirCar’s take-off and landing procedures were achieved even without the pilot’s need to touch the flight controls.
Now that the craft has been granted its Certificate of Airworthiness by the Slovak Transport Authority, the developers say a new production model is expected to be certified in 12 months.
No price details have been revealed for the futuristic vehicle, but it could be seen in the air and on the roads by next year at the latest.
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Stuff of science fiction: A futuristic flying car able to reach heights of more than 8,000ft and speeds over 100mph is now certified to fly after passing safety tests in Slovakia
AirCar’s developers said tests included the full range of flight and performance manoeuvres
Now that the craft has been granted its Certificate of Airworthiness by the Slovak Transport Authority, the developers say a new production model is expected to be certified in 12 months
AirCar certification opens the door for mass production of very efficient flying cars,’ said Professor Stefan Klein, AirCar’s inventor, the leader of the development team and test pilot.
‘It is official and the final confirmation of our ability to change mid-distance travel forever.’
The project’s co-founder Anton Zajac said: ‘Fifty years ago, the car was the epitome of freedom. AirCar allows us to be free again.’
René Molnár, the director of the Transport Authority of Slovakia, said: ‘Transportation Authority carefully monitored all stages of unique AirCar development from its start in 2017.
‘The transportation safety is our highest priority.
‘AirCar combines top innovations with safety measures in line with EASA standards.
‘It defines a new category of a sports car and a reliable aircraft.
‘Its certification was both a challenging and fascinating task.’
The certification of flying comes six months after AirCar completed its first ever inter-city flight in Slovakia.
After landing the vehicle then transformed into a sports car in less than three minutes before being driven to the centre of Bratislava.
The AirCar Prototype 1, which has a 160 horsepower fixed-propeller engine, is the brain child of Professor Klein and was developed by Slovakian firm KleinVision.
FLYING AIRCAR: WHAT ARE ITS TECHNICAL SPECIFICATIONS?
Engine: Prototype 1 has a 160 horsepower fixed-propeller engine but Prototype 2 will be equipped with a 300 horsepower engine.
Top speed: 300km/h (186mph)
Range: 1,000km (621 miles)
Amazing footage released last year showed it driving down a runway before soaring into the air. It can then be seen landing, folding away its wings and being driven along a motorway before arriving in the heart of the Slovakian capital.
The 35-minute flight from Nitra to Bratislava was a key development milestone and moved it closer to going into production, KleinVision said in June.
Developers say the AirCar would be great for leisure and self-driving journeys, or as a commercial taxi service.
It is equipped with a BMW engine, runs on regular petrol-pump fuel and can carry two people.
AirCar has wings that unfurl and a single propeller at the rear. The wings fold up when the vehicle is on the road and it takes up the space of a normal parking spot.
‘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,’ Dr Branko Sarh, a former Boeing expert, said after AirCar’s first inner-city flight last year.
The developers say it has been designed so that the stability and control of the AirCar is accessible to any pilot, with no specialist training required.
When all of the legally required flight tests are completed they plan to fit the craft with a more powerful engine and hope to have it ready for sale within the next 12 months.
AirCar Prototype 2, the pre-production model, will be equipped with a 300 horsepower engine and is expected to have a cruise speed of 300km/h (186mph) and range of 1,000km (621 miles).