Tue. May 28th, 2024

By Ojukwu Emmanuel Chiadikaobi

 

A historical moment for both aviation and automotive technology, the AirCar, developed by KleinVision, achieved a groundbreaking milestone by successfully completing its maiden flight with a passenger on board. Renowned French electronic music composer, Jean-Michel Jarre, aged 75, had the honor of participating in this historic flight in Slovakia, marking a significant leap forward for Slovakian-made hybrid vehicles.

The brains behind the AirCar, Stefan Klein, along with co-founder Anton Zajac, have been instrumental in driving this innovation forward. The vehicle received approval for flight in 2022 after proving its capabilities through over 200 successful takeoffs and landings, including completing an intercity flight the previous year, making it the first flying car to do so.

The AirCar prototype, weighing 2,000 pounds and featuring foldable wings and a propeller, seamlessly transitions from a sports car to a plane in mere minutes. This versatility was showcased at Piestany International Airport, where Mr. Jarre completed two flights, mesmerizing onlookers with the AirCar’s performance.

Powered by a 1.6L BMW engine, the AirCar aims to embrace electric power in the future, with plans to transition once technology permits. During testing phases, it reached impressive speeds of up to 120 mph and altitudes of 8,000 feet, showcasing its capabilities. Anton Zajac expressed optimism about the vehicle’s future, stating, “As soon as the technology improves, we will simply run on batteries,” in an interview with Sky News. He emphasized the AirCar’s role in bridging the gap between ground and sky travel, offering a sense of freedom reminiscent of cars from half a century ago.

Looking ahead, the Slovakian government’s Future of Flight action plan envisions the integration of flying taxis by 2030, with the AirCar poised to hit the market within a year. However, operating the vehicle requires a dual certification involving both a driver’s license and a pilot’s license, along with a specialized flying course lasting two to three months. This ensures safety and competence among operators, paving the way for a new era of personal air travel.

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