By Tim Binnall
A Slovakian company working on developing a flying car took a big step forward this week when their prototype successfully completed an inter-city test flight. Dubbed simply 'AirCar,' the wondrous vehicle took flight from the city of Nitra on Monday morning and, over the course of 35 minutes, journeyed approximately 45 miles to the Slovakian capital city of Bratislava. Upon landing, the creators of the craft provided a fantastic display of its feasibility by immediately transforming it from an aircraft into a car, which is a process with takes less than three minutes, and then cruising into the center of the city where they were met by reporters.
Powered by a 160 horsepower BMW engine running a fixed propeller positioned at the back of the vehicle, the flying car is the brainchild of inventor Stefan Klein, who heads the company Klein Vision alongside co-founder Anton Zajac. According to the group, Monday's flight was the latest in a series of milestones for the AirCar, which has already demonstrated the ability to reach an altitude of 8,200 feet and a cruising speed of 118 miles per hour. Klein Vision now hopes to take the insights gleaned from this initial prototype and create a more sizeable second test vehicle that will be equipped with a 300 horsepower engine. "AirCar is no longer just a proof of concept," declared Zajac in a press release, "it has turned science fiction into a reality."
While pulling off a successful flight from one city to another is undoubtedly an impressive achievement for the company, one may wish to temper their expectations as far as when the average person might be able to get behind the wheel of a flying car. As one can imagine, there are all manner of challenges that need to be overcome before such vehicles become commonplace, least of which are logistical issues that will come from having skies filled with such craft. That said, given the fact that a working flying car seemingly now exists, that long-imagined symbol of the future just might be closer than we think.