The AirCar received its airworthiness certificate from the Slovak Transport Authority last Wednesday, and the prototype will soon be followed by the production version.
The AirCar first took to the skies in October 2020 and has since spent more than 70 hours in the air during 200 test flights, meeting the European Aviation Safety Agency’s criteria, the BBC reports. According to a press release from Klein Vision, the vehicle “demonstrated amazing static and dynamic stability” in the air, and managed to take off and land without any pilot intervention.
René Molnár, Director of the Civil Aviation Department of the Slovak Transport Authority, said that the authority had been following the development of the car from the very beginning and that it could, in his opinion, create a new category of transport. The official was keen to stress that the Authority’s top priority was transport safety, and that the AirCar met these requirements to the maximum.
The AirCar prototype used for test flights is a custom-built, two-seater powered by a 1.6-litre, 140 hp BMW engine. The 1.1-tonne car needs a runway of around 380 metres to take to the air, where it can reach speeds of up to 180km/h. The AirCar’s longest journey took place in June last year, when it covered the nearly 100 kilometres between Nitra and Bratislava in 35 minutes, but its developers say it can theoretically fly up to 1,000 kilometres on a single refuelling.
Thanks to servo motors, the vehicle can fold its wings and retract its tail in just two and a half minutes, fully automatically, and can be driven on public roads. As is not unusual for smaller aircraft, the AirCar is also fitted with a parachute for safety and, as with conventional aircraft, it can of course only be flown with a valid pilot’s licence.
The company’s founder, Štefan Klein, started working on the design of the flying car in the 1980s, and the first prototype, the AeroMobil, was built in 2013. Klein left the company a few years later and, together with Anton Zajac, founded Klein Vision in 2017, where they took five years and hundreds of thousands of man-hours to go from initial sketches to a flight licence. “50 years ago, the car was the embodiment of freedom. The AirCar pushes those boundaries and takes us to the next dimension; to where the road meets the sky,” said Zajac, who expressed Klein Vision’s ambition for this extraordinary achievement.
The designers’ next goal is to create an advanced version of the car that will use Adept Airmotive’s engine developed for airplanes, so that its top speed in the air can reach 300 km/h. According to Klein Vision, this car could be licensed in about a year, but it is not yet known when mass production of the vehicle could start.