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Slovakia certifies flying car as airworthy

Innovation 2022-01-26, 1:04pm


Flying car - The vehicle's wings are retractable and fold away when it is set for use on the roads. DW News

Slovakia's state transport agency has given the green light for a new flying car to take to the skies.

The company behind a Slovakian hybrid half-car, half-plane vehicle  said in a press release that it had received certification of airworthiness for its innovation.

KleinVision claims that approval for its AirCar opens the path for the "mass production of very efficient flying cars."

Aircraft mode at the touch of a button

The transformation from the vehicle's road-going setup to its flight mode takes less than 3 minutes. The process is entirely automated — with the push of a single button needed to start it.  

Before it could be certified, the car had to complete 70 hours of flight testing — having successfully completed more than 200 takeoffs and landings.

Powered by a 1.6-liter BMW engine, the futuristic vehicle needs a runway of only 300 meters (nearly 1,000 feet) long to take off.

It can reach flight speeds of up to 170 kilometers per hour (just over 100 mph) and has a range of roughly 1,000 kilometers.

AirCar completed its first intercity flight in June 2021.

What happens next?

KleinVision will still have to obtain the certification of type of aircraft to launch the commercial exploitation of its aircraft from the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA).

"This is an official confirmation of our ability to permanently transform medium-distance travel," said the car's developer, Stefan Klein.

The airworthiness certification for the flying car was confirmed to the AFP news agency.

In the company press release, Rene Molnar, the director of the Civil Aviation Division, praised the vehicle as a breakthrough.

"It defines a new category of a sports car and a reliable aircraft. Its certification was both a challenging and fascinating task."

KleinVision is not the only firm looking to open up the skies to flying cars. German flying-taxi startup Lilium has attracted total investments of more than $375 million (€330 million) to date, and Uber unveiled its giant dronelike flying-taxi prototype in 2018.

Edited by: Mark Hallam.

- DW News