Flying cars are no longer just the preserve of futuristic science-fiction, as a historic test flight has just proven with aplomb.
A flying car prototype, aptly named the AirCar, has completed a test flight between airports in Nitra and Bratislava, Slovakia. The voyage took just 35 minutes, and the vehicle was powered by the same regular petrol you could find at any filling station.
At the peak of its powers, the AirCar will be capable of flying 1,000km (600 miles) at a height of 8,200ft (2,500m), reports the BBC, and its transition from car to aircraft takes just two minutes and fifteen seconds.
The transformation, which looks like something out of a sixties Bond film, means that the car quite literally sprouts wings, after which it can take off and land using a runway like a light airplane. Weighing 200kg, the craft reached a top airspeed of 140km/h, and its creator Prof Stefan Klein described the voyage as being “very pleasant”.
The Klein Vision website describes how the vehicle functions, and even hints at other applications of the technology: “AirCar has been conceived as a shape, evocating dynamic and attractive form predominantly built from an advanced composite material. In the car mode, the object generates downforce using spoiler and elevator pitch whereas in the aircraft mode the entire surface generates lift. Lift body concept includes future development for the spacious interior and for the variety of models: three and four seaters, twin-engine, and amphibious version.”
There is great interest in the idea of flying cars, with other concepts generally being centred around electric vehicles with a vertical take-off and landing ability. Morgan Stanley has predicted that the industry could be worth as much as $1.5 trillion dollars by 2040.