Flying cars are no longer science fiction.
AirCar, a flying car that takes less than three minutes to transition to driving mode once on the ground, performed a 35-minute flight between the international airports of Nitra and Bratislava in Slovakia on June 28, a press statement reveals.
The latest flight of the AirCar saw it perform its first inter-city trip and ace its 142nd successful landing, bringing it another step closer to production.
"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," said Professor Klein after exiting the AirCar cockpit in Bratislava.
The AirCar "has turned science fiction into a reality," added Anton Zajac, the co-founder of Klein Vision.
Much like with hoverboards, the term "flying car" has often been used on an approximation of what we've seen in science fiction.
For example, while eVTOL firm AirSpeeder says it's making flying car races a reality, the company's vehicles are perhaps more accurately described as race drones or UAVs.
The AirCar, on the other hand, is a technology that is truly representative of its name. Once it had landed in Bratislava's international airport on June 28, the vehicle folded its wing, drew in its tail, and was driven by its inventor to downtown Bratislava.
AirCar nears production with over 40 hours of test flights
The AirCar was invented by Professor Stefan Klein and is being developed under the company name Klein Vision. Currently in the prototype phase, the vehicle comes equipped with a 160 HP BMW engine with a fixed propeller, and a ballistic parachute.
Klein Vision also claims the two-seater model weighs approximately 2,425 lbs (1,100 kg), and it can lift an extra 440 lbs (200 kg).
The AirCar Prototype 1 has flown at altitudes up to 8200 ft and reached a maximum cruising speed of 190km/h (103kt).
With Civil Aviation Authority supervision, the AirCar Prototype 1 has completed over 40 hours of test flights. During these flights, test pilots have conducted steep 45 degree turns and other maneuvering challenges to test the hybrid aircraft's safety.
Next in line for the development of AirCar is the Prototype 2, the company's pre-production model, which will feature a 300 HP engine and reach cruise speeds of up to 300km/h (162kt) and a range of 1000km (621mi).
Though Klein Vision's original plan to make the first sales of its AirCar by May 2021 didn't come to fruition, and aircraft certification tests are still pending, we might be surprisingly close to seeing flying cars take to the skies in a commercial capacity.
Watch a video of the AirCar's first-ever inter-city flight below.