The AirCar just proved it’s more than deserving of its moniker. The hybrid vehicle—part aircraft, part car—just took to the skies in Slovakia and successfully completed its first inter-city flight.
The pioneering design is the handiwork of professor Stefan Klein of Klein Vision. The Slovakian outfit has been working on the craft for more than 30 years and has delivered myriad prototypes.
This particular AirCar, Prototype 1, can transform from a sports car into an aircraft in just two minutes and 15 seconds. It’s equipped with a gasoline-powered 160 hp BMW engine with a fixed-propeller for added propulsion as well as a ballistic parachute.
On Monday, the two-seater completed the flight between Nitra and Bratislava airports in 35 minutes with Klein at the helm. After landing safely, the professor simply pushed a button to retract the wings and drove the car off the tarmac and into the city center. The company claims this halved the typical travel time.
Prototype 1 already has 142 successful touchdowns and more than 40 hours of test flights under its belt. Klein says it has flown at heights of up to 8,200 feet and achieved sharp 45-degree turns as part of its maneuverability testing. It’s also hit a maximum cruising speed of 103 knots (118 mph).
Still, this latest jaunt between airports marks a major milestone for the company on its road to production.
“This flight starts a new era of dual transportation vehicles,” Klein said in a statement. “It opens a new category of transportation and returns the freedom originally attributed to cars back to the individual.”
Klein Vision has more flying cars in the pipeline, too. It’s currently working on a new pre-production model called AirCar Prototype 2. Fitted with a 300 hp engine and variable pitch propeller, it’s expected to reach speeds of up to 162 knots (186 mph) and offer a range of 621 miles. According to the company, this model will also receive the CS-23 aircraft certification for normal, utility, aerobatic and commuter airplanes from European aviation regulators, along with an M1 road permit.
Klein Vision is also developing three- and four-seater AirCars, as well as a twin-engine and amphibious version.
Looks like we may see a WaterCar before long.