Europe’s bid to build it’s first flying car has taken a setback as the first prototype crashed, with its inventor Stefan Klein inside.
Stefan was uninjured following the crash, but had to deploy an emergency parachute after the Aeromobil malfunctioned.
He hopes that the flying car, when successfully completed, will revolutionise personal transport worldwide.
The car was badly damaged in the crash – and the incident looks set to dent the reputation of a company who many tipped to be the first to bring a working flying car to market.
The two-seater flying Aeromobil is road-legal, but can take wing from any open grassy area- and its makers had hoped it would go on sale in Europe from 2017.
In a press release, Aeromobil said, ‘During one of the test flights that took place on May 8, 2015, the inventor and test pilot, Stefan Klein, encountered an unexpected situation and activated the advanced ballistic parachute system in an altitude of approximately 300 meters (900 feet).’
Its creators have spoken of their hopes for a future where flying cars fly slightly lower than planes – and trips by ‘flying taxi’ are common.
‘We don’t even need airports,’ Vaculik said, ‘If something like a flying Uber and flying Lyft will be on the market, I think many users will find this a very efficient way to move.’
The AeroMobil is already in near-final prototype stage – and unlike other rivals, meets the criteria both for planes and for road vehicles in Europe – although Vaculik admits there are still some hurdles regarding where the plane is allowed to fly and take off.
On the ground, the Czech-built vehicle can hit 100 mph – and it flies at up to 124mph on twin propellers.
It can land on just 150 feet of grass, and fly for up to 430 miles.
Its makers hope it will ‘change personal transport on a global scale.’
The makers designed and built the working model in just 10 months – and say it contains various ground-breaking technologies which could spark a new age of personal aviation, such as variable-angle wings which allow it to take off on a much shorter runway than rival aircraft.
The Aeromobil also has toughened suspension, so it can take off from relatively rough terrain, including paved streets or parkland.
Its makers have yet to confirm a price tag or release date for the vehicle – but unlike rivals, it is most definitely real, and flying over Europe now.
Vaculik admits that the only thing standing in the way is government regulation, both in the air, and on the ground.
Vaculik says, ‘We need to match 100 years of bureaucracy in the air and 100 years of bureaucracy on the ground. It’s not easy.’