Brian Lim [email protected]
Flying cars are finally coming! For decades, when asked to imagine the technology of the future, the stock answer has been flying cars. In the 1950s and ’60s, they represented the promise of a high-tech future, the inevitable outcome of relentless American ingenuity. For the generations that came after, they grew to represent something else — the failure of that future to manifest. It became a common, plaintive lament: “Where is my flying car?” Well, the days of anticipation are finally over. Soon, you may be able to find one for sale at your local car dealership.
While there are several startups competing to be the first to release a commercially available flying car, the AirCar by Klein Vision is one of the front-runners of the race. Last year, it was awarded an official Certificate of Airworthiness by the Slovak Transport Authority, after completing 70 hours of rigorous testing. This part aircraft, part car vehicle is powered by a 160 horsepower 1.6-liter BMW engine, which alongside its propellers allow the AirCar to cruise at an altitude of 8200 feet at a top speed of 118 mph. While this model will not be sold to the general public, Klein Vision expects to have its first commercial model in a year’s time, with an estimated top speed of 186 mph and a range of 621 miles.
Nonetheless, while there is no commercially available flying car in the market yet, the concept of a flying car is not something new. In fact, the first flying car model was called the Aerauto PL.5C, created in Italy back in 1951. It was a roadable two-seater aircraft whose wings could be folded to swiftly transform it into an automobile. However, it only managed to fly for 400 miles and was soon scrapped as the manufacturers failed to secure any orders.
Despite the perpetual failure in creating a fit-for-use flying car, society's perennial interest in flying cars never waned. Since the concept of a car flying across the skies was first visualized, it has featured in many works of fantasy and science fiction, such as the award-winning Blade Runner and Back to the Future series. Hopefully, these flying automobiles will transcend beyond works of fiction, and onto the tarmac all over the world.