Flying Cars: Fiction becomes Fact

James Bond’s famous AMC Matador Coupe. Photo: The Man with the Golden Gun (1974)


Moviegoers were stunned when they witnessed James Bond fly his AMC Matador Coupe in 1974’s The Man with the Golden Gun. To them, a flying car was a futuristic idea that they would never see in their lifetime. Well, now it’s finally here, in ours…

Research and development company Klein Vision has made the flying car a reality. Last week, it completed a 35-minute, 100km test flight from the Slovakian cities of Nitra to Bratislava. 

This highly advanced hybrid is capable of traveling for 1,000km, climbing to a height of 2,500m, and carrying a limit of 200kg. It has a convertible roof, narrow retractable wings, an emergency parachute system, a propeller, and a 160 horsepower BMW engine. It can carry two passengers, runs on gasoline, and takes about two minutes to switch from automobile mode to plane mode.

This so-called AirCar has accumulated 40 hours in the air on other test flights and travels at 190 kph. It needs 300m to take off. A second and more powerful prototype is in the works with an alleged 300 horsepower engine and a speed of 300kph.

The AirCar in plane mode. Photo: Klein Vision


Will we commute in our own personal aircraft?

The hybrid was relatively cheap to produce: about $2.6 million. Surprisingly, the U.S. has placed a big order for 40,000 AirCars, although they’re not yet certified. Official approval will take another few years of consistent safety and environmental pollution testing without incident.

However, this has not stopped an intense race to dominate the fledgling industry. Uber, Hyundai, Porsche, Toyota, Mercedes, Aston Martin, and Terrafugia are all looking to produce their own flying cars in the future.

The AirCar’s sleek interior. Photo: Klein Vision


How will flying cars shape the future? Aviation engineers and researchers believe that it may ease the growing pressures on ground transport. Some say that for short hops, it can save time at an airport. It also has a possible economic worth of $1.5 trillion. Whatever the case, it all depends on the success of these prototypes and the development of these ambitious companies. 

You have to start somewhere…