The AeroMobil 3.0, the latest iteration of a flying car
built by Slovakian company AeroMobil, is constructed with a steel frame
covered in a carbon coating. It can take off at 90mph and travel 430 miles on
a tank of regular gasoline. It also can turn heads faster than any other flying
car we've ever seen.
"As a plane it can use any airport in the world, but
can also take off and land using any grass strip or paved surface just a few
hundred meters long," says the AeroMobil website. That's due, in part,
to a very sturdy suspension system.
When the AeroMobil's wings are retracted and it's in car
mode, it measures about 20 feet long and 7 feet wide, comparable to a
limousine. It can reach speeds in excess of 100mph and go about 540 miles on a
tank of gas.
"It has low maintenance costs and can be parked in regular
parking slots in cities," says a company press release.
When the driver of the car transforms it into a plane, the
wings bring the vehicle's width to about 27 feet. AeroMobil is currently working
out certification and licensing requirements for the car/plane.
"After the testing of the prototype of AeroMobil 3.0
that proved the ability to operate in road traffic and also in the air, we
continue with development towards certification and homologation, which can
take several years," company spokesman Stefan Vadocz told CNET. "Our
team is very motivated and we work hard to fulfill the regulation requirements
within EU and other markets."
When it's a car, the 3.0's front wheels are powered by a
Rotax 912 engine: a four-cylinder, four-stoke liquid/air-cooled engine with opposed
cylinders and two carburetors. According to the manufacturers, it offers "the
best power-to-weight ratio in its class."
When the car turns into a plane, the Rotax engine powers a
propeller at the back that provides the propulsion for flight.
"The change of traction from the front wheels to the
propeller is operated by a central shift that redirects the torque from the
wheels to the propeller," says Vadocz. "It's one of our proprietary
solutions. Nor does this technical solution omit the safety factor; the
process of transformation is secured after take-off -- it is impossible to
activate the transformation accidentally during the flight."
The cockpit of the AeroMobil 3.0 is accessed when the top of
the car lifts up and forward -- which only adds to its cool Batmobile-like
Although the 3.0 is still considered a prototype, Vadocz
told CNET that the final model won't be very different. "The exterior
design is very close to the final version," he said. "In this phase of the
prototype development the necessary modifications will be implemented -- mainly
the modifications of material used, not those of a conceptual nature. Subsequent
works are planned for the next year."
Not only is the AeroMobil a fully functional car and plane,
it is also a beauty inside and out. So what will the final price be for all
"It is too early to speak about market price at this
stage," Vadocz told us. "The prototype is work in progress and only
after completion of final configuration we will be able to set the price span.
Expect the price combination of a sports car and a light sports aircraft --
several hundreds of thousands of Euro. The first AeroMobil should be a high-end
product produced in a limited edition."
You've no doubt heard people talk about car dashboards that
look akin to the cockpits inside planes. In the case of the AeroMobil 3.0 the
dashboard, of course, actually IS the cockpit. The steering wheel tilts down
when the vehicle is in plane mode to allow access to the flight-control column.
Co-founder and CEO of AeroMobil, Juraj Vaculík (left) was an
instrumental in figure in the student movement that led to Czechoslovakia's
Velvet Revolution in 1989 which ended communist rule in the country. He
originally attended Bratislava's performing arts school, VSMU, and worked as a
theater director in the country before moving on to creating flying cars.
It was the other co-founder of AeroMobil, Štefan Klein (right), who
had the dream of a flying a car since 1989. Klein graduated from the Slovak
University of Technology in 1983. After serving as the Head of the Department
for Transport and Design at Slovakia's Academy of Fine Arts and Design where he
worked on cutting-edge research projects for clients including Audi, BMW and Volkswagen,
he's now making his dream come true.