'AirCar' Takes the Next Step Toward Flying Cars

Eric Sentell

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Concept Art for the AirCar by Klein VisionKlein Vision

Flying cars are science fiction, right?

They're rocket-fueled Cadillacs like what Marty McFly saw in Back to the Future, right?

Actually, flying cars have existed in some form since 1917. A little over a century later, we are on the cusp of real-life flying cars.

The Slovakian company, Klein Vision, recently received a certificate of "air-worthiness" from the Slovak Transport Authority for its AirCar.

While most people view flying cars as solutions to urban transport, I would love to cut down my 90-minute, curvy, hilly commute by traveling as the crow flies.

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Klein Vision's AirCar in flightKlein Vision

Put aside your skepticism.

The AirCar flying car completed 70 hours of flight testing and over 200 take-offs and landings before being certified as "air-worthy."

AirCar's flying vehicle combines a BMW engine, gasoline, wings, and a propeller to reach 100 mph speeds and 8000-foot altitudes.

It converts from a regular car with folded-back wings and a plane-like spoiler into a flying car reminiscent of a Transformer robot in less than three minutes.

All you need is a pilot's license and some open road to use as a runway. Fear not, AirCar comes with a parachute deployment system.

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Klein Vision's AirCar on the roadKlein Vision

The Future of AirCar

The approval of the AirCar in Slovakia paves the way toward mass producing AirCars. It may lead to regulatory approval in other countries and the European Union.

Another car-plane hybrid, the PAL-V, already has approval for roads in the European Union. Its manufacturer is seeking approval for air flight.

The three-wheeled, gyrocopter could take off vertically, allowing driver-pilots (or pilot-drivers?) to avoid unexpected traffic jams, road construction, and the like.

How everyone will avoid mid-air traffic jams remains to be worked out through aviation regulatory agencies, flying car manufacturers, and future driver-pilots (or pilot-drivers?).

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PAL-V Plane-Car HybridPAL-V

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PAL-V Plane-Car HybridPAL-V

A $1.5 Trillion Market?

Investment and finance stalwart Morgan Stanley says that flying cars, or "urban air mobility," could be worth $1.5 trillion by 2040.

Decades later, the market might be worth as much as $9 trillion.

In addition to Klein Vision and PAL-V, numerous companies are trying to build flying cars that can be manufactured and sold efficiently.

The first models will likely be so expensive that only the very wealthy can afford them. But the first VCRs cost $1000-$1400. Within a decade, they cost a fraction of that. Now they're antiquated technology that you can find at yard sales for a few bucks.

The cost of flying cars will come down to middle-class price points.

And we'll finally have the future that Back to the Future promised us.

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