First Flying Car Cleared to Soar

This car that transforms into an airplane has passed rigorous flight tests.

Feb 8, 2022
The AirCar flying.

(Courtesy Klein Vision)

A car that transforms into an aircraft has passed a rigorous series of flight tests and is ready to roll and fly. The AirCar received a certificate of airworthiness by the Slovak Transport Authority in late January, 2022.

The flight tests – which took 70 hours and included over 200 takeoffs and landings –  were compatible with those of the European Aviation Safety Agency, according to a press release from Klein Vision, the company that created the flying car.

The challenging tests ran the full range of flight performance maneuvers which demonstrated the dynamic stability of the airplane mode. The vehicle was able to perform takeoff and landing procedures without the pilot controlling the flight controls at all.

“AirCar certification opens the door for mass production of very efficient flying cars. It is official and the final confirmation of our ability to change mid-distance travel forever," Professor Stefan Klein, the cofounder, inventor, leader of the development team, test pilot, and CEO of Klein Vision, said in the press release.

Where it began
The AirCar went from a dream to a reality in 2017 when Klein Vision created its first prototype flying car but it really began 20 years earlier, according to the company. Klein's passion for flying led him to co-found the AirExplore charter airline where he clocked over 1,200 flying hours on powered aircrafts and over 3,000 hours on gliders.

Klein’s vision was to create a flying car. He created two previous prototypes – AREOMOBIL I and II –  the first one in 1989 but it was not practical. His second prototype in 1996 began the transformation from car to aircraft.

Klein founded Klein Vision in 2017 and the AirCar was built that year from patented technology. This is the vehicle that just made aviation history.

About the AirCar
The AirCar was developed by a team of specialists that spent more than 100,000 hours converting design concepts into the prototype, according to CNN. The result is a hybrid vehicle that is powered by a 1.6L BMW engine and runs on ordinary fuel. The aircar can operate at the maximum of 18,000 feet.

In June, 2021, the flying car completed a 35-minute test flight between the Slovakian airports in Nitra and Bratislava. After the vehicle landed, it drove to the capital city’s center. Now that the AirCar has been certified as airworthy, it can go into production.

But not everyone can drive this remarkable hybrid vehicle. According to the company, you must have a pilot’s license to pilot the AirCar. The goal is to have the vehicle commercially available in 12 months.

While the aircar will never replace a small airplane, it could actually one day replace helicopters, Kyriakos Kourousis, chair of the Royal Aeronautical Society's Airworthiness & Maintenance Specialist Group told CNN.

“The choice of an internal combustion engine for the propulsion system of this vehicle has been most probably made to rely on proven technology,” Kourousis said. “The environmental impact can be substantial if the utilization of such vehicles is scaled up, especially in urban settings.”

While a fully electric vehicle like the Skai from Alaka'i Technologies is more environmentally sound, any vehicle soaring above the gridlock will save energy and produce less carbon emissions than using cars. So the next time you look up, you could see a bird, a plane, or a flying car in the sky. 

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Bonnie has dedicated her life to promoting social justice. She loves to write about empowering women, helping children, educational innovations, and advocating for the environment & sustainability.