by Anmol AhujaNov 16, 2020
“Up in the sky, look: It's a car! It's a plane!” The skies over Piestany Airport in Slovakia this week could probably claim both, with respect to this slightly reformed trademark Superman quote. Developed over several iterations in form and design and the result of a three-decade long vision, the AirCar by Klein Vision looks to finally make an affordable flying car a reality. An automobile levitating in the sky has been part of possibly every dabbler’s fantasy, but to be able to realise the complex physics involve and yield a feasible product for the market is an impressive feat by all means.
Several automobile companies have thrown their hats in the ring for securing the race of the future of automobiles. The Hyundai Motor Group’s New Horizons Studio for developing UMVs comes as a fine example from recent memory of what this future may hold. In that respect, Klein Vision, a research and development company founded by Professor Stefan Klein and harbouring his dream of a “flying car” for nearly thirty years now, has inched closer to putting a fully realised version of that vision into the market. The dual transportation vehicle’s 5th generation design (earlier termed AirMobil) safely achieved two full airport patterns, including two takeoffs and landings, and completed two full flights at 1500 ft. AGL at the Piestany Airport on October 27.
The company, as part of its research into the need for such an intervention, states that the roads are already chock-a-block with traffic in most metro cities, aptly terming these as “traffic prisons”. Additionally, its statistical research states that people twice the size of the population of China travel by air, pointing to the increasing preference for air travel due to the distance and temporal benefits the mode entails. Yet, the congestion in that medium also leads to every third flight in the EU being delayed, while the direct cause of air delays in the United States is rougly 7.2 Billion USD every year. The AIrCar thus targets a segment of travellers for leisure and self-driving journeys, and also as a commercial taxi service.
The AirCar’s design overcomes the dichotomy that arises from the individual designs of automobiles, or airplanes that traditionally must be lightweight, as opposed to cars. The two seater model of the AirCar comes in at 1100 kg, and can carry an additional weight of 200 kg per flight. A four-seater model for a larger group of travellers is available as well. The car is powered by a BMW 1.6l engine, having an effective output of 140 HP. It is estimated to cover 1000km on a complete refill, with a flight consumption of nearly 18 l/h. If that wasn’t impressive enough, the AirCar can take you from ground to sky after burning the asphalt for 300m, reaching speeds of up to 200 km/h, claims Klein Vision. Most importantly though, the stability and controllability of the AirCar is accessible to any pilot, the press release states. The total transformation of the “road vehicle” to the “air vehicle” on the runway, including the extension of the tail to reveal a propeller, and the deployment of its wings on its side, takes a total of 3 minutes. Watch the stunning video of that transformation and its successful test flight, here.
“With Aircar you will arrive at your destination without the hassle of getting a ride to airport and passing through commercial security. You can drive your AirCar to the golf course, the office, the mall or your hotel and park it in a normal parking space,” states Anton Zajac, Klein Vision co-founder, investor and pilot. Following the completion of all required flight tests in compliance with EASA (European Union Aviation Safety Agency) regulations, Klein Vision plans to deliver a model with a certified 300HP engine within the next 6 next months in the market.