People's fascination with flying cars is as old as aircraft themselves. From the first days of flight, people have dreamed of owning their personal flying vehicle. With that in mind, here are a few that managed to fulfill that dream, and can be yours if you have the money for it.
Starting with a blast from the past, Aerocar International's Aerocar is one of the first flying cars that saw any kind of success. The car was a brainchild of one Moulton Taylor, who built the first prototype in 1949. The basic design involved a rather adorable looking front wheel two-seater fiberglass car mated to an aircraft wings and tail. The entire wing and tail section could be detached and folded into a self-contained package, allowing the fuselage to operate as a normal supermini. Power came from a Lycoming O-320 horizontally-opposed four-cylinder aircraft engine, making 143 HP. On-road, the Aerocar had a top road speed of 67 mph and a cruising speed of 55-60 mph. In air, however, the numbers almost doubled to a top speed of 110 mph, a cruising speed of 100 mph, a 12,000-foot service ceiling, and a range of 300 miles. Sadly, only five of these amazing vehicles were made before a combination of issues forced the company under.
Klein Vision's 'AirCar' (V5)
Fast forward to 2019, we have the AirCar by Slovakian automotive firm Klein Vision. Compared to the previous two entries, the V5 is absolutely gorgeous and looks like an actual mid-engine sports car with a propeller and a giant rear spoiler stuck onto it. Its 3-minute transformation to plane a more is also a sight to behold, with the wings literally growing out of the fuselage then morphing into position. In-flight mode, the car's 140HP 1.6 liter engine can take the car off the ground in 300 meters and can travel up to 621 miles with a 124-mph top speed. The company has yet to disclose its on-road performance but confirmed it will be capable of autonomous driving. Currently, the vehicle is in the prototype stage, having done its maiden flight in October. The company hopes to brings the car into production by next year, though they have yet to specify a date.
Watch Klein Vision's 'AirCar' maiden flight
For all its coolness, the AirCar has one major Achilles heel, a need for a runway. Fortunately, Dutch company PAL-V —short for Personal Air and Land Vehicle— has an answer for those who want to fly without traveling to an airport first, their Liberty autogyro. In its car mode, the Liberty looks like an upmarket tuk-tuk (Or CNG if you prefer) with a cargo box strapped on top. When the need for flight arises though, the box unfolds into a carbon fiber rotor blade, allowing it to quickly take off. Powered by a 101Hp motor, it can reach a top speed of 100 mph and travel around 807 miles. On air, the top speed is claimed to be 122 mph with a range of around 297 miles, and therein lies the catch. Although PAL-V proved the design works with the PAL-V ONE demonstrator in 2012, the Liberty has yet to make its official maiden flight, which is set for sometime next year.
Now, if we are honest with ourselves, none of the vehicles on this list is a "flying car", they are actually road legal aircraft. Now, what if we told you that out there is a design that is so radical that it blends the definition of two? Meet the BlackFly by Opener, Inc. By design alone, the BlackFly breaks every rule in the book. It doesn't have wheels; it doesn't have a tail and it definitely does not need any prepared surface to operate. Its eight electric motor lets it mauver at any angle, its dual wings allow it to turn on a dime, and its single shell body means it can take off and land on water without any issue. Performance-wise it can reach a top speed of 80 mph and has a range of 40 miles. The best part? Unlike all other vehicles on the list, this one does not require a pilot's license to fly. At the time of writing this article, Opener is producing 30 pre-production models for light testing. They promise to put the BlacFly on the open market after they are done testing those, and their website claims each will cost about as much as an SUV. Fingers crossed.
Watch BlackFly - Official Launch