A Slovak startup has built a two-seater, 140-horsepower, 1.6-liter BMW-powered car that can fly with a propeller drive. And not in any way you know: Klein Vision in Bratislava’s not-so-imaginative AirCar is said to have a range of 1,000 km. The startup announcement also gives the other parameters of the vehicle: its unladen weight is 1100 kg and it can carry a payload of 200 kg, for which it has to burn 18 liters of fuel per hour.
He also goes for an extreme car
It only takes 3 minutes to convert, and then, if you have approx. 300 m of free terrain (so far experimented on concrete, at the airport in Piestany), you can already climb up to split the sky at a maximum speed of 200 km / h.
Although the design of the AirCar is said to be futuristic, in this respect it doesn’t even come close to the Japanese SkyDrive’s rolling-and-flying vehicle that only resembles a trace, which, by the way, isn’t far from where AirCar is. The Slovaks have announced that they will be able to start production in as little as six months, as the vehicle has passed the necessary tests. The first model will get a 300 hp engine, and if you can believe the victory report of the startup, there are already buyers for it.
This is how a flying car changes from a flying car to a car: the rear sash of the car slides backwards, at which point the wings become free and open to two sides. From here, everything goes like airplanes, the car accelerates on the concrete and then rises off the ground. The landing is also done in a completely classic way: the plane puts down the rear wheels first, then the front ones, then stops.
By the way, the Kleins see the main advantage of their universal vehicle there as solving one of the problems of the connection between the airports far from the cities and the settlement, as it is not possible to park a small plane in the city center or take the car on a flight. While it is suspected that typical AirCar customers will have no problem paying for an airport taxi, a rented car, or a guarded parking lot, there is no doubt that such an “amphibian” will make short-distance travel much more flexible and comfortable. Anton Zajac, co-founder and investor of Klein Vision, also stressed that it is a means of transport that is an integral part of urban living: any urban destination can be reached from the office through the shopping center to the hotel, where it can fit in a normal parking space.
He worked in the automotive industry, flying is his hobby
One of the founders and main constructors of the startup, Stephan Klein, happily combines a commitment to cars and aviation. He has worked as an industrial designer for Audi, Volkswagen and BMW, and also teaches at Mackintosh University of the Arts in Glasgow. In addition, however, he is intensely preoccupied with flying, with more than 1,200 hours of piloting behind him (in the video above, he also drives the flying car).
Klein designed the first hybrid car-airplane model in 1989. This was followed seven years later by the Aeromobile II, which already had the option of switching between airplane and car mode with a conversion (e.g. removable wings). This concept was fulfilled by the current model. Klein Vision was founded in 2011 and made their first test flights in 2018 with their current vehicle.
AirCar can even be a commercial success, as it embodies a concept adapted to current traffic habits. But in its current state, it can only target wealthy motorists with a pilot’s license. however, there is also a concept that would open up short-distance transport with self-propelled aircraft to everyone. One example is a German air taxi startup called Volocopter, which recently began selling the first tickets for its flights. At the same time, the complexity of the project is well indicated by the fact that while there is no need to combine two modes of transport, the Germans still need 2-3 years to launch their commercial service.