Slovakia has approved a flying car marking a significant step forward in the years-long process of converting automobiles into aircraft.
The “AirCar,” which is a small car that can transform into a plane, was granted an official Certificate of Airworthiness by the Slovak Transport Authority. The savvy vehicle conducted over 200 test flights, including takeoffs and landings compatible with European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) standards. After conducting 70 hours of “rigorous flight testing,” the car was certified to fly.
The AirCar can be fueled up at any gas station and is propelled by a 1.6L BMW engine. The car can travel at a maximum altitude of 18,000 feet. This real-life Transformer demonstrated its full capacity in June by conducting a 35-minute trial flight between airports in Nitra and the capital Bratislava. Once it landed, the AirCar converted back into a car and was driven to the city center.
Klein Vision, the automotive company behind the car, says that they hope to have the AirCar available commercially within the next year. However, anyone planning to purchase this innovative whip must have a pilot’s license.
“AirCar certification opens the door for mass production of very efficient flying cars,” said the car’s inventor and test pilot, Stefan Klein, who led the development team.
Other automotive companies have tried to construct a flying car in recent years. The U.S.-based company, Terrafugia, announced last year that their flying automobile was granted a special airworthiness certificate for certification of their “roadable airplane” by the FAA. Their version was certified in the light-sport category, meaning that it is legal to fly but not yet legal to be on the road. They hope to legalize their vehicle completely in 2022.