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January 28, 2021

Since time memorial, every young child has had dreams of flying cars zipping through the sky. Movies like Back to Future and Blade Runner have further stoked this desire, filling our minds with possibilities.

However, with the comment section of every YouTube video comparing new inventions to flying cars in the format “1969: There will be flying cars in the future, 2020: Pogo sticks”, it seemed everyone had given up hope regarding the possibility of the flying car. Well, apparently not everyone. Slovakian developer Professor Stefan Klein of Klein Vision has finally heard our cries and developed the world’s first AirCar. The car can transition from a car to a plane in 3 minutes and is able to manage space by retracting its wings and folding its tail surfaces.

Klein, a university professor of transportation design, has been working on his concept since the then-Czechoslovakia’s Velvet Revolution of 1989 opened the country. The version that flew is his fifth and has been in development since Klein and his co-founder Anton Zajac set up the company in 2016.

The Aircar blazing past you on the highway may just appear to be another luxurious supercar, however, upon closer inspection, you begin to notice there’s more to this vehicle. It looks like something from a science fantasy book. You can drive the car to the airport tarmac and at the push of a button, begin the metamorphosis into a sky rider. The rear section of the car slides back as two wings pop out of the car and begins to unfold. Once the wings are fully expanded, the prototype speeds off down the runway and takes off into the sky. Once the flight is complete, the wings retract back into the car, and it drives off.

The Aircar prototype successfully completed its maiden flight in October 2020 and reached a speed of 200 km/h and an altitude of almost 1,000ft. The ultra-lightweight two-seater is powered by a 1.6-litre BMW engine that puts out 140 horsepower, according to a press release from the company. The startup also claims that the craft will have a flying range of roughly 1000 km and be able to reach a top flying speed of 200 km/h. It has a roomy cockpit providing space for the driver/pilot and the passenger. There are plans for variants that sit up to 4 people and even an amphibious version.

It is not the first car-aircraft prototype, however. The Pal-V is another popular example and is actually the world’s first road-legal flying car. However, it works more like a helicopter that can be driven on the road than an actual flying car. The Aircar stands out from its competition as it looks and drives like a regular car. The company also claims that the car is to come with autonomous driving.

After less than 2 years of development, Klein Vision is ready to continue moving forward with the AirCar. The company plans to put the vehicle into production this year, and surprisingly already have a customer waiting.

Seems I may need to start taking flying lessons and get my pilot license afterall.