AirCar, a dual-mode car-aircraft vehicle moved a step closer to production this week, making its first 35-minute flight from Slovakia’s international airport in Nitra to Bratislava.

The AirCar was driven by its inventor Professor Stefan Klein and co-founder, Anton Zajac and halved the journey time into downtown Bratislava. The aircraft made the transformation to a sports car in under three minutes following the landing on June 28. The landing marked Klein Vision AirCar’s 142nd successful landing in Bratislava.

Vehicle transforms from plane to sports car in under three minutes

Dr Branko Sarh, Boeing Co. Senior Technical Fellow said: “The automated transition from road vehicle into an air vehicle and vice versa, deploying/retracting wings and tail is not only the result of pioneering enthusiasm, innovative spirit and courage; it is an outcome of excellent engineering and professional knowledge.”

The AirCar Prototype 1 is equipped with a 160HP fixed-propeller engine and a ballistic parachute. Under the supervision of the Civil Aviation Authority, the AirCar has completed over 40 hours of test flights, including steep 35 degree turns and stability and manoeuvrability testing. AirCar Prototype 1 has flown at 8200 ft and, at 45 per cent engine power, reached a speed of 170km/h.

AirCar Prototype 2, the pre-production model, will be equipped with a 300HP engine and receive the EASA CS-23 aircraft certification with an M1 road permit. With its variable pitch propeller, the Prototype 2 is expected to have a cruise speed of 300km/h (162kt) and range of 1000km (621M).

“A new category of transformation”

Professor Klein said: “This flight starts a new era of dual transportation vehicles. It opens a new category of transportation and returns the freedom originally attributed to cars back to the individual.”

Anton Zajac, co-founder of Klein Vision, added: “AirCar is no longer just a proof of concept; flying at 8,200ft at a speed of 92kt, it has turned science fiction into a reality.”