“Science Fiction Is Now a Reality”: Flying Car Completes First Intercity Test
By Cana Yao
On June 28, 2021, KleinVision’s prototype flying car completed its first ever test flight between airports when it traveled from Nitra to Bratislava, Slovakia. Its creator, Professor Stefan Klein, declared that the flight marked the beginning of “a new era of dual transportation vehicles.”
According to a news release and video by Klein Vision, the “dual-mode aircraft vehicle,” AirCar, completed its 142nd successful landing in 35 minutes, cutting in half the time it would take to drive from Nitra to Bratslavia. AirCar is equipped with retractable wings, a “160HP BMW engine with fixed-propeller and a ballistic parachute,” and has “flown at 8200 ft and reached a maximum cruising speed of 190 km/h” during its test runs. In less than three minutes after landing, the plane transformed into a sports car--which Professor Klein then drove straight into town.
“This flight… opens a new category of transportation and returns the freedom originally attributed to cars back to the individual,” Professor Klein said after exiting the AirCar in Bratislava. “AirCar is no longer just a proof of concept,” KleinVision co-founder Anton Zajac added. “It has turned science fiction into a reality.”
Around the world there is a high demand for Zajac and Klein’s new “reality.” The flying car has long been regarded as a symbol of the future. And it’s not just the stuff of sci-fi junkie dreams. Aircraft vehicles such as AirCar could prove to be a valuable solution to several of today’s problems. Not only is flying faster than driving, but it could also reduce traffic pollution, crowded highways, and the need for expensive infrastructure. Why sit in traffic when you can get to the nearest runway and take to the skies? Hyundai Motors Europe chief executive Michael Cole called the concept a “part of our future” which will become a reality around the world within the next decade. General Motors has also announced their intent to develop flying cars by 2025.
The want and need for flying cars is likely to lead to a lucrative market for dual-mode aircraft vehicles. As Zajac said in an article by the BBC, even attracting a small percentage of aircraft or vehicle sales would make AirCar incredibly successful. “There are about 40,000 orders of aircraft in the United States alone,” he said, “and if we convert 5% of those, to change the aircraft for the flying car - we have a huge market.” And he’s not alone--consultants at Morgan Stanley also anticipate a successful flying car market in the near future. In 2019, Morgan Stanley Research predicted that the sector could be worth up to $1.5 trillion by 2040--which would be exactly one century after Henry Ford made his predictions for “a combination airplane and motorcar.”
As excitement related to the flying car industry mounts, so does enthusiasm about AirCar., was commended by Boeing Company senior technical fellow, Dr. Branko Sarh. Dr. Sarh stated that Klein’s invention was “not only the result of pioneering enthusiasm, innovative spirit and courage; it is an outcome of excellent engineering and professional knowledge.” Dr Stephen Wright, senior research fellow in avionics and aircraft, at the University of the West of England, said in a BBC article that although he has “a hundred questions about certification,” he “can't wait to see the piece of paper that says [AirCar] is safe to fly and safe to sell.”