flying
flying

Flying car a sight for ‘soar’ eyes

Riley Riley

You could be forgiven for thinking it’s a joke.

The world’s first commercially available flying car, Aeromobil, from Slovakia, will be on display at the Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles — April 1 (April Fool’s Day).

But the Aeromobil is real enough, able to transform from car to aircraft in less than three minutes.

It’s 6.1 metres long and 2.2 metres wide, a figure that grows to 8.8 metres with the wings expanded.

The car-cum-plane has a top driving speed of 160km/h, with 0 to 100km/h in 10.0 seconds and an estimated driving range of 1000km.

In the air, it has a cruising speed of 260 km/h, climbs at 6.1 m/s, and has a range of 740km — or 515km with two people aboard.

Aeromobil features a hybrid petrol-electric powertrain, consisting of a 2.0-litre Rotax 912 turbocharged ‘boxer’ petrol engine that acts as a generator for twin electric motors, with 82kW of power available through the front wheels on the road.

In the air, the engine delivers 224kW, with direct drive to a variable pitch propeller turning at a rate of 2400 rpm.

An adaptive transmission delivers both road functionality and direct drive during flight.

The engine was developed by Prodrive for AeroMobil.

Ah, yes . . . but what about safety (especially in the air)?

Aeromil is equipped with a ballistic recovery parachute system and an integral carbon-fibre structure and occupant cell for driver/pilot and passenger safety.

They had a prang in 2015, when the car went into a spin in the air and the parachute had to be deployed — but the driver/pilot escaped with only minor injuries.

Ten years in the making, the Aeromobil’s research and development team includes leading automakers BMW, Aston Martin, McLaren, Mercedes Benz F-1 and Ferrari F-1, and aerospace leaders Lockheed Martin, Rolls Royce, Airbus, and Diamond Aircraft.

It has been engineered and tested in accordance to CS 23 aerospace certification standard.

The latest version 4.0 has undergone 350,000 hours of testing.

Oh, the price . . . about $1.7 million Aussie dollars.

 

Size

  • Automotive Dimensions – Length: 6100 mm / Width: 2200 mm
  • Aerospace Dimensions – Length: 6100 mm / Wingspan: 8800 mm

Power

  • Hybrid propulsion system with a turbocharged internal combustion engine
  • Power – 224 kW
  • Adaptive transmission delivering road-going functionality and direct drive during flight
  • Constant speed propeller

Operating Range

  • Driving Range (estimated using WLTP) – 1000 km
  • Flying Range – 740 km

Performance

  • Driving – Top speed 160 km/h, 0-100 km/h 10 sec
  • Flying –
    • Cruise speed: 260km/h
    • Rate of climb: 6.1 m/s / per minute
    • Take-off / landing distance: 400m / 300m

    * verified by actual flight tests

Safety

  • Ballistic Recovery Parachute System for entire vehicle
  • Integral carbon fiber structure and occupant cell
  • Autonomous flight via current autopilot technology (optional)

Key Features

  • Full transformation between drive and flight modes in less than 3 minutes
  • Adaptive flight control surfaces and vehicle suspension for optimal take-off and landing
  • Advanced controls and avionics in both fly and drive mode
  • Aerospace certification basis: CS 23

 

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