Tue. Jul 5th, 2022

“AirCar” was awarded an official certificate of airworthiness by the Slovak Transport Authority after completing 70 hours of “rigorous flight testing”, according to Klein Vision, the company behind the “dual-mode car aircraft”.

The test flights – which included more than 200 take-offs and landings – were compliant with European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) standards, the company said in a press release on Monday.

“The challenging flight tests covered the full range of flight and performance maneuvers and demonstrated an astonishing static and dynamic stability in flight mode,” the company said.

A spokesman for Klein Vision told CNN that a pilot’s license is required to fly the hybrid car, adding that the company hopes to have “AirCar” commercially available within 12 months.

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A team of eight specialists spent more than 100,000 hours converting design concepts into mathematical models that led to prototype production. “AirCar” is powered by a 1.6L BMW engine, and running on “fuel sold at any gas station,” Anton Vajac, co-founder of Klein Vision, said in a statement to CNN.

The vehicle can fly at a maximum operating altitude of 18,000 feet, Zajac added.

In June, the flying car completed a 35-minute test flight between airports in Nitra and the capital Bratislava in Slovakia. After landing, the plane converted into a car and was driven to the city center.
The aircraft completed its first intercity flight in Slovakia last June - its 142nd successful landing.

“AirCar certification opens the door to mass production of highly efficient flying cars,” said test pilot Stefan Klein, the car’s inventor and leader of the development team.

Kyriakos Kourousis, chairman of the Royal Aeronautical Society’s Airworthiness & Maintenance Specialist Group, told CNN that “this is not the first time that similar types of vehicles have been certified.”

“If the company involved in the certification has made the business case, this will progress in creating a product that can reach the market,” Kourousis said.

He added: “It’s the scale that’s going to create a lot of new opportunities for employment and for developing new technologies.”

Other vehicles under development include the PAL-V Liberty, a gyro aircraft that functions as a road vehicle, from the Dutch company PAL-V. The vehicle was given a full certification basis by EASA, but has not yet completed the final “compliance demonstration” phase, according to the Dutch company’s website.
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Similarly, the US company Terrafugia obtained an FAA Special Light-Sport Aircraft (LSA) airworthiness certificate for its transition vehicle – which allows users to drive and fly – according to a press release in January last year.

Kourousis added that vehicles like the “AirCar” could one day replace helicopters.

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

“I think we will see fully electric or at least hybrid cars of this or similar kind in the near future that contribute to our environmental sustainability goals.”

CNN’s Livvy Doherty contributed to this report.

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