Aircars won’t be with us soon, buy they’re getting closer.

Most electric vertical take-off and landing (EVTOL) aircraft owe their design to futuristic flying robots and insects. But there’s a more humble kind of flying innovation — the flying aircar. As the name suggests, these shape-shifting machines go from road cars to flying in the sky in minutes with only the need for a short landing strip.

Overnight they were in the news, with an announcement from Klein Vision that their AirCar flying car had received a Certificate of Airworthiness from the Slovak Transport Authority, making it legal to fly. 

The news follows 142 successful landings in Bratislava. At yesterday’s landing, inventor Professor Stefan Klein clicked a button, transforming the aircraft into a sports car in under three minutes. 

In earlier tests, the AirCar flew at 8200ft, reaching a maximum speed of 190kmph (103knots). 

The AirCar includes retractable wings, folding tail surfaces, and a parachute deployment system. It is equipped with a 160HP BMW engine with a fixed-propeller and a ballistic parachute. Under the supervision of the Civil Aviation Authority, the AirCar has completed over 40 hours of test flights, including steep 45 degree turns and stability and maneuverability testing. 

AirCar Prototype 2, the pre-production model, will be equipped with a 300HP engine and receive the EASA CS-23 aircraft certification with an M1 road permit. With its variable pitch propeller, Prototype 2 aims to have a cruise speed of 300km/h (162kt) and a range of 1000km (621mi).

The company also plans for a four-seater version, a twin-engine, and an amphibious plane — yes, a plane that turns into a boat. Or is it a car that turns into a boat and a plane? I’m not entirely sure. Whatever it is, I’m in.

But if the idea of a car that turns into an aircraft sounds familiar, you’d be right. Klein Vision’s founder Stefan Klein previously worked for another Slovakian aircraft company, Aeromobil.  There’s also a few other companies in the space. Who will triumph in the race to get an aircar on the market? 

Aeromobil (Slovakia)