“Mark my words: a combination airplane and motorcar is coming. You may smile, but it will come.” Who uttered these outlandish words?
None other than the father of modern automobile production, Henry Ford, all the way back in 1940. Now, three-quarters of a century later, the bold prediction of the pioneering industrialist who made cars available to the masses is about to come true, apparently.
We can now reveal that the world’s first commercially available flying car will go on sale within the next two years, at the bargain price of around £172,000 (don’t quibble: you’re getting two vehicles for the price of one, and one of them is an actual aeroplane). Slovakian company AeroMobil has been working on a design that melds elements of car and aeroplane for the past 25 years and after successful test flights, expects the AeroMobil 3.0 model to soon be available to the public.
“We believe that by 2017 we’ll be able to launch this to market,” AeroMobil founder and chief Juraj Vaculik declared at a conference in the United States this month.
Before you get carried away and imagine yourself taking off down the avenue and flying to the shops for a pint of milk, bear in mind that the company has designed its first fly-drive offering with “wealthy supercar buyers and flight enthusiasts” in mind, according to Mr Vaculik. Perhaps that’s you.
This sporty-looking flying car is a two-seater that has a take-off speed of 81 mph and can do 124 mph in the air. For those interested in this daring and striking machine, they’ll be pleased to learn that it comes with autopilot – so while soaring above the rest of us, stuck in our lowly land-based cars on congested roads, they can sit back and enjoy the view.
With a steel frame and carbon coating, the vehicle has a range of 435 miles and consumes 15 litres of petrol an hour. It’s powered by a sturdy Rotax 912 engine, and naturally, the wings are collapsible.
For those brave initial motor-pilots, will they need a new type of driving instructor, flying instructor or a combination of the two to get to grips with the controls? Whatever the case, their insurance premiums are sure to be sky high!