Ever since 1940, when Henry Ford famously stated, “Mark my words, a combination airplane and motorcar is coming,” the prospect of flying cars has been a popular topic for discussion. Fast forward three-quarters of a century later, and scientists and engineers in the automobile industry are more focused on developing faster and more fuel-efficient cars that are luxurious and laden with high-tech gadgetry than the elusive flying car.
Although there have been many attempts to create a flying car with the hope of mass production, it has been difficult to achieve for a variety of logistical and practical reasons.
The Slovakian company Aeromobil, headed by Stefan Klein, is closer than ever to fulfilling Henry Ford’s vision. While it’s not the first flying car to be invented, as Terrafugia successfully tested its hybrid-electric flying car ‘TF-X’ in early 2013, the Aeromobil 2.5 is the most appealing and functional prototype to date that not only drives comfortably on highways like a regular car, but also sports the ability to convert into an aircraft with the touch of a button.
The Aeromobil runs on a rear-facing 100 hp Rotax 912 engine, and can reach a flight speed of about 125 miles per hour. It also has an impressive range of 430 miles, can run on regular fuel, and has a 27 foot wingspan. The wings fold and unfold with the touch of a button, and altogether the vehicle weighs just under half a ton.
For now, information on when or if the Aeromobil will be released to the public is unavailable, as developers are still working on perfecting the technology. Still, the technology is being advanced with serious-minded research firms, and it’s clearly only a matter of time before the Aeromobil, or other similarly built aerial vehicles, will be made available for mass consumption.
Here is a video of the Aeromobil 2.5 in action (and be forewarned, the corny background music must be forgiven):
If the Aeromobil ever becomes available to the public, the license required to fly such a vehicle will be (and should be) heavily scrutinized.