The simply named AirCar was recently awarded an official Certificate of Airworthiness by the Slovak Transport Authority, after completing 70 hours of rigorous testing.
The hybrid vehicle—part aircraft, part car—successfully executed more than 200 takeoffs and landings that were all in line with the European Aviation Safety Agency standards, according to a statement released Monday.
Klein Vision said the aircraft showcased astonishing stability throughout the challenging test flights. It was even able to take off and land without the pilot touching the controls. In other words, it passed with flying colors.
To recap, professor Stefan Klein and his eponymous firm have been working on the AirCar for more than 30 years and have delivered a number of different prototypes to date. The AirCar that achieved the crucial certification milestone, known as Prototype 1, sports a gasoline-powered 1.6-liter BMW engine good for 160 hp along with a fixed-propeller that gives a little more grunt. It can reportedly fly up to 8,200 feet at a top speed of 118 mph.
What’s more, the Transformer-like two-seater can turn from a sports car into an aircraft in just two minutes and 15 seconds. This was demonstrated last June when Klein completed a 35-minute flight between Slovakia’s Nitra and Bratislava airports in Prototype 1. After landing safely, the professor retracted the wings with the push of a button and drove the car into the city center. The company claims this halved the typical travel time. It’s worthwhile noting that you will need a pilot’s license to helm this baby.
“AirCar certification opens the door for mass production of very efficient flying cars,” Klein said in a statement. “It is official and the final confirmation of our ability to change mid-distance travel forever.”
Klein Visions hopes to have the first AirCar commercially available within a year. It also has a more powerful version in the pipeline, too, which has an estimated top speed of 186 mph and a range of 621 miles. That model is expected to be certified in 12 months’ time.
Looks like 2023 will be a big year for flying cars.