Turning Science Fiction into Reality

Gaurav Kumar

AirCar is a prototype of a flying car developed by Stefan Klein. On June 28, this prototype model successfully completed its first-ever flight time of 35 minutes from Nitra International Airport to the Bratislava International Airport that is about 80 km of distance as demonstrated by the Slovakian company, Klein Vision. This sports car-like transforming prototype model of AirCar ridiculously crafted the scope of a futuristic vehicle that we ever imagined only in science fiction and now it is turned into reality.

Credit: Klein Vision

AirCar

AirCar was first introduced by the company in the year 2016. The Klein Vision’s AirCar succeeded in test landing at the Bratislava International Airport almost 142 times. There is a button in this vehicle that is capable of turning it into a sports car in about 3 minutes after landing at the base. AirCar is supposed to include several functional units.

Passengers could enjoy lots of space in AirCar because of its aerodynamic fuselage system that is also designed to provide additional loading capability for the flying vehicle. It also includes several other advanced technologies like parachute deployment systems, folding tail surfaces, and retractable wings. Better take-off characteristics and longitudinal stability is provided by the folding tail similar to the conventional aircraft.

A very compact size could be achieved when it turns into car mode because of its retractable tail. Advanced composite materials are being used for building the attractive and evocating dynamic form of the flying vehicle. Lift is generated by the entire system when it is in airplane mode whereas elevator pitch and spoilers are used for generating downforce when it is in car mode.

AirCar, a dual-mode car-aircraft vehicle moved closer to production this week, fulfilling a key development milestone in a 35-minute flight from the international airport in Nitra to the international airport in Bratislava on June 28th, 2021
Cr: KleinVision Youtube Channel

Klein Vision: A brief history

Klein Vision is a very innovative company that is designing several prototype models of flying vehicles in history. The first prototype of a flying vehicle was named AeroMobil that was designed in the year 1989. That was a canard type design that included four lift surfaces, the total length was about 5 meters along with a wingspan of 2.5 meters. The second prototype model of the flying vehicle was introduced as AeroMobil 2 that was developed in the year 1996. This is the first transforming model that included car to aircraft mode. Stefan Klein is the Founder, CEO, and CTO of the Klein Vision, Anton Zajac is the co-founder and advisor of the company. The development team of the Klein Vision includes a team of experts that worked on the prototype model of AirCar as well as AeroMobil 2 and AeroMobil 3.

These highly skilled specialists are capable of building flying cars from their gained combined experiences in the company. The team includes the Chief Aircraft Engineer of the company is Miroslav Senkyr, Chief Electrical Engineer of the company is Branislav Cerveny, along with Ludovit Jedlicka as senior designer, Igor Rumanovsky as an aircraft technician, Peter Janik as a technician, Dalibor Vlcek as a computational analyst, Jaroslav Klein as powertrain engineer, and Eduard Klein as CAD and IT assistant in the company.

(Credit: Klein Vision)

AirCar Prototype 1

The first flying model is named AirCar Prototype 1 that includes a BMW engine of 160 horsepower along with a ballistic parachute and a fixed propeller. It weighs around 1100 kg and is capable of handling an additional weight of 200 kg in its flight. Civil Aviation Authority tested this prototype for a flight time of more than 40 hours along with 45 degrees steep. They also tested the maneuverability and stability of the flight that is considered remarkable since its first flight. According to the statement, this AirCar Prototype 1 is capable of flying at a height of 8200 feet along with 103 kt. cruising speed that is about 190 km/h. After landing it turns into a classic sports car template in about 3 minutes with just a push of a button. The BMW engine is powered on conventional gasoline as its fuel and hence it could be easily refueled at any gas station very efficiently. It could travel a distance of about 1000 km range and the fuel consumption in the flight is calculated over 18 l/h.

(Credit: Klein Vision)

AirCar Prototype 2

The pre-production flying model is named AirCar Prototype 2 that is supposed to be equipped with a 1.6-liter BMW engine of about 300 horsepower. This will be certified with EASA CS-23 aircraft along with an M1 road permit. This prototype model will also include a variable pitch propeller and ballistic parachute. It is expected that this AirCar Prototype 2 will be able to reach the maximum range of 1000 kilometers along with a 300 km/h cruising speed that is about 162 kt. It is expected that the company is planning to develop the AirCar model as a three to four seated vehicle along with dual engines and also an amphibious version.

Future Scope

Several other companies are trying to explore the potentiality and stability of the flying vehicle since they understand the difficulties in the safety and reliability of the vehicle. The flying vehicle must be able to handle the crowded situation and must operate close to conventional aircraft and drones. A regulatory framework will also be required for the long-term future of the flying prototype model. The company is also planning to develop several other versions of the AirCar prototype model according to the requirement and affordability of the people. Few of them are enlisted below –

1. 2 seated version of AirCar that will be capable of carrying two people at a time to maintain the template of the sports car and it also includes a powerful engine, propeller, and ballistic parachute.

(Credit: Klein Vision)

2. 4 seated version of AirCar will be able to accommodate four people at a time along with increased load capacity that is powered by a very powerful engine for its stability and maneuverability during the flight.

(Credit: Klein Vision)

3. Twin engine version of AirCar will be powered with a dual BMW engine to boost the performance and capability of the air vehicles to a much greater extent.

(Credit: Klein Vision)

4. Amphibious version of AirCar will be able to travel over water along with a powerful engine and life support mechanism for the people who love to travel overseas.

(Credit: Klein Vision)

References

Bhupinder Singh (1 July 2021), “Science Fiction Is Now A Reality: Flying Car Completes First Ever Inter-City Flight”, accessed on 13th July 2021, <https://www.indiatimes.com/amp/trending/social-relevance/science-fiction-is-now-a-reality-flying-car-completes-first-ever-inter-city-flight-543998.html>

Bryan Hood (02 July 2021), “Klein Vision’s Flying Car Prototype Takes to the Skies After Driving the Road: The startup’s prototype successfully completed its first flight in Slovakia last week”, accessed on 13th July 2021, < https://robbreport.com/motors/aviation/klein-visions-aircar-prototype-first-flight-1234578689/>

Christopher Brito (02 July 2021), “Flying car completes first-ever test flight between airports in 35 minutes”, accessed on 13th July 2021, < https://www.cbsnews.com/news/flying-car-test-flight-35-minutes/>

Euronews and AP (02 July 2021), “This convertible flying car has made a successful inter-city test flight in Slovakia”, accessed on 13th July 2021, <https://www.euronews.com/next/2021/07/02/this-convertible-flying-car-has-made-a-successful-inter-city-test-flight-in-slovakia>

Vivek Punj (2 July 2021), “Drive and Fly! Klein Vision’s AirCar completes first ever inter-city test flight”, accessed on 13th July 2021, <https://www.livemint.com/news/world/drive-and-fly-klein-vision-s-aircar-completes-first-ever-inter-city-test-flight/amp-11625146529718.html>

Zoe Kleinman (30 June 2021), “Flying car completes test flight between airports”, accessed on 13th July 2021, < https://www.bbc.com/news/technology-57651843>

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