AeroMobil plans to bring a flying car to the masses by 2017, but it has suffered a setback as a prototype crashed during testing. Luckily the pilot escaped unharmed.
The Slovakian company said in an official statement: “During one of the test flights that took place on May 8, 2015, the inventor and test pilot, Stefan Klein, encountered an unexpected situation and activated the advanced ballistic parachute system in an altitude of approximately 300 meters (900 feet).
“The system has proved itself fully functional and landed the entire vehicle without any injury to the pilot. The detailed data and overall experience from this test flight will be thoroughly analyzed and the results will be used in the ongoing R&D and improvements of the prototype. Testing of the current prototype 3.0 and further product development will continue after the replacement of the damaged parts.”
It admitted the ‘likelihood of an unexpected situation is a natural part of the testing program’ and that the flight details from the incident will ‘improve the performance of the vehicle prior to our next flight test’. Specifics of what caused the crash are currently unknown.
The AeroMobil is a two-seater car that can turn into a plane in rapid fashion. It features a Rotax 912 engine that is good for a 100mph top speed on the ground and 124mph when flying. Take off can be done at 90mph.
In its 3.0 version, which is the latest, it is said to have a range of 540 miles when being driven and 430 miles in flight, making it almost possible to fly from London to Scotland on one tank.
Aeromobil said the prototype was ‘very close to the final product’ back in early November 2014 and was aiming for a 2017 on sale date. The first version of the AeroMobil arrived in 1990.
It is an unfortunate step back for the company, but hardly surprising. It took the Wright brothers a lot of mistakes to perfect flight in the first place and no one has quite cracked the flying car, let alone made it available to the public. Our dream of flying to the Recombu Cars office is still very much alive.