Does “The Jetsons” mean anything to you? “The Jetsons” was an animated sitcom produced for television in the early 60’s. It was also the first program broadcast in color on ABC.
A futuristic cartoon featuring whimsical inventions used by the Jetson family in space-colonized life, the writers of this show were ahead of their time. Many of the show’s off-the-wall features are now realities, including cell phones, video-conferencing, robots and, most recently, a flying car.
The concept of a vehicle capable of being driven on the road and in the sky is quite a feat. Some have produced elaborate drawings of such vehicles that never made it into production, while others have spent a little time in the air before crashing and ending all hopes. This is indeed the stuff of dreams.
Recently, Stefan Klein, an industrial designer from Central Europe (Slovakia), demonstrated that a flying car is within our reach, 59 years after the concept was popularized by William Hanna and Joseph Barbera’s “The Jetsons”. This video is real and it’s mind-boggling:
Klein has devoted 20+ years of hard work to his flying-car dream. The AirCar is the fruit of that labor. It effortlessly and majestically transforms from a road car into an air car in 2 minutes and 15 seconds. The two-seat prototype model weighs 2,425 lbs. and can carry an additional 441 lbs. of weight; if the average American male weighs 181 lbs., that leaves a healthy 79 lbs. for your Louis Vuitton luggage. The AirCar is powered by a BMW 1.6l engine, which produces 140 HP. The estimated travel range of the AirCar is currently 621 miles, with flight fuel consumption of 4.7 gallons/hr. The machine flies at an altitude of 8,200 ft.
“A flying car is an irresistible fantasy that all drivers have had.”
AirCar travels from the ground into the sky with a take-off distance of 984 ft. as it reaches speeds up to 124 mph. In its current form, a runway is required for the AirCar to lift-off, but when it lands, it can be transformed back into a car with the simple depression of a button and driven away. Vertical lifting would be the cherry on the sundae, negating the need for an expansive stretch of tarmac.
The next AirCar prototype will continue its evolution, with a larger engine and more horsepower; a more PR-centric route between Paris and London is being flaunted as the next frontier. The first flight to navigate these same coordinates was made by French aviator, car headlamp inventor and engineer Louis Bleriot in 1909, 112 years ago.
“Flying cars are close. We’re closer than we’ve ever been.”
So … we’re there, almost. Except I don’t hear the name Detroit in this flying car conversation. Hello Motown, watcha say? When are you going to put your big boy pants on in this game?
And sorry to say, but aerial ridesharing à la Uber, doesn’t make the cut. Uber Elevate is an interesting vertical transportation concept, not an end-to-end flying car solution.