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Flying car completes test flight between airports

KLEIN VISION

A prototype flying car has completed a 35-minute flight between international airports in Nitra and Bratislava, Slovakia.

The hybrid car-aircraft, AirCar, is equipped with a BMW engine and runs on regular petrol-pump fuel.

Its creator, Prof Stefan Klein, said it could fly about 1,000km (600 miles), at a height of 8,200ft (2,500m), and had clocked up 40 hours in the air so far. It takes two minutes and 15 seconds to transform from car into aircraft.

Prof Klein drove it straight off the runway and into town upon arrival, watched by invited reporters.

He described the experience, early on Monday morning, as “normal” and “very pleasant”. In the air, the vehicle reached a cruising speed of 170km/h.

It can carry two people, with a combined weight limit of 200kg (31 stone). But unlike drone-taxi prototypes, it cannot take off and land vertically and requires a runway.

There are high expectations for the nascent market in flying cars, which have long been heralded in popular culture as a visionary landmark of the future. It is considered a potential solution to the strain on existing transport infrastructures.

The company behind AirCar, Klein Vision, says the prototype has taken about two years to develop and cost “less than 2m euros” (£1.7m) in investment.

Dr Stephen Wright, senior research fellow in avionics and aircraft, at the University of the West of England, described the AirCar as “the lovechild of a Bugatti Veyron and a Cesna 172”.

And he did not think the vehicle would be particularly loud or uneconomical in terms of fuel costs, compared with other aircraft.

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