BMW powered flying car gets green light

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Company that began as an aircraft engine maker powers car that transforms into a plane

A car that can transform into a small aircraft has been awarded with an “official Certificate of Airworthiness” by the Slovak Transport Authority. According to Klein Vision, the company behind the AirCar, 70 hours of “rigorous flight testing,” including over 200 takeoffs and landings, have been completed. All of that was compatible with European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) standards.

“The challenging flight tests included the full range of flight and performance maneuvers and demonstrated an astonishing static and dynamic stability in the aircraft mode,” Klein Vision said in a press release on Monday.

The AirCar is powered by a 1.6-liter BMW engine, and runs on “fuel sold at any gas station,” Anton Zajac, co-founder of Klein Vision, told CNN. The vehicle can fly at a maximum operating altitude of 18,000 feet, he added. It takes two minutes and 15 seconds to transform from car into aircraft. The wings and tail fold away automatically for road driving.

A spokesperson for Klein Vision also said that a pilot’s license is required to fly the hybrid vehicle. He has expressed hopes of having the AirCar commercially available within 12 months.

In June, the flying car completed a 35-minute test flight between airports in Nitra and the capital Bratislava in Slovakia. After landing, the aircraft converted into a car and was driven to the city center.

“AirCar certification opens the door for mass production of very efficient flying cars. It is official and the final confirmation of our ability to change mid-distance travel forever,” the AirCar’s inventor Stefan Klein said as quoted by Top Gear Magazine.

BMW started as an aircraft engine producer, but after WWI Germany was forbidden to make airplanes or engines for them (for five years). So, the company switched to making motorcycles and cars. In 1924 they resumed the production of aircraft engines, and ultimately stopped in 1945. The iconic logo with the four colored quadrants represents a spinning airplane propeller.

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