The car that flies!

We’ve all sat back and thought about how cool it would be if cars could fly. That’s the thing about us humans – we always look at what we have and want more. It can be looked at as greedy, but at the same time, it has pushed the human species into a technological era that has allowed us to travel at excessive speeds and even leave our very own planet. Back in 1940, Henry Ford said: “Mark my word: A combination airplane and motorcar is coming. You may smile, but it will come.”

He got a lot of laughs that day, but wouldn’t you know it; he was right. I introduce you to the Aeromobil 3.0 – a functional car/plane prototype that has been doing real world testing since October of 2014. To put it simply, this thing is wild. The unique design of the wings allows it to park in a normal parking space, yet when deploy allows the vehicle to take off in a much shorter distance that your everyday small plane.

To be clear, this specific model is an improved prototype over the AeroMobil 2.5, and can use any airport on the planet. It’s also versatile and is able to land on any grass stripe or paved surface. So, in theory, with a long enough back yard, you could take off and land on your own property with what seems like very little modification. With that said, I’m excited to take a closer look at this awesome flying car, so let’s get to it.

Exterior

2016 Aeromobil 3.0 High Resolution Interior Exterior
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2016 Aeromobil 3.0 High Resolution Interior Exterior
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2016 Aeromobil 3.0 High Resolution Interior Exterior
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Looking at this thing is just wild. It’s not exactly a flying Delorean, but it does have four wheels and the ability to fly, so that’s good enough for me. One quick look and you can tell this thing is very aerodynamic. Up front, the noise comes to a fairly sharp point and is shaped just right to help direct airflow under the wings when they are deployed. There are two large air intakes in the front of the nose and a bubble-like windscreen over the cockpit. It looks like the Aeromobil doesn’t have your standard car doors. The best I can tell, it looks like the windshield and nose swing forward to allow entry into the cockpit – similar to that of fighter jets and some race cars.

With the wings tucked away, the indicator lights on the front appear to serve as the tail, brake, and reverse lights

The side profile of this thing is even wilder. For having such wide wings, Aeromobil has somehow managed to make them foldable. When they aren’t deployed for flight, they are folded parallel to the body, with the tips resting between the rear tail fins. Toward the rear, the body extends from the sides to give way to the tail fins, which also house the rear wheels. Upon initial inspection, this thing has to be front-wheel drive as there appears to be no way for axle shafts to travel to the rear wheels. I’ve also noticed that when the wings are tucked away, the rear of the body in the center is folded upward into a point. It looks like it is closed off and offers no function other than creating more room for the wings.

Around back, things are pretty simple. There is a large, rear-mounted propeller to go along with the very sleek look of the rear tail fins. With the wings tucked away, the indicator lights on the front appear to serve as the tail, brake, and reverse lights. I suspect there is also a camera system hidden back here somewhere as well, as it seems it would be almost impossible to see when moving in reverse. I would also like to note that the engines exhaust appears to exit at the rear of the cockpit, and looks to be directed just below the rear tail fins. It’s an interesting design, but it apparently works well as it has been in real-world testing for a reasonable amount of time.

Interior

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The interior is, as I expected, the perfect combination of car and plane. The dash features a number of gauges that include a fuel pod, altimeter, speedometer, and various other gauges needed for driving and flight. The steering wheel has a flat top and bottom, with the center hub leading way to two hand controls that are typically used in smaller sport planes. In the center of the “instrument cluster,” you find the typical airplane up that features a digital heading dial, as well as a digital view of the horizon to go along with what looks to be lots of required information.

The “center console,” if that’s what you would call it, features what appears to be two throttle levers

The center stack is fitted with another display screen that is displaying a map in the images seen here. This is obviously an important feature to have, as you certainly don’t want a plane without GPS these days. As one would expect, there is the traditional avionics radio that is located just below the map screen which will allow the driver/pilot to communicate with air traffic control. The “center console,” if that’s what you would call it, features what appears to be two throttle levers. Of course, one could be the flight throttle, and the other could be rudder control. There is also a shifter located on the center console that is probably used to shift the transmission during road driving. At this point, information is limited so we’ll get to breaking things down a little better when the Aeromobil 3.0 moves into official production.

2016 Aeromobil 3.0 High Resolution
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With that said, there are just two other things I would like to point out. The passenger side of the dashboard has a number of switches that are likely activated prior to take off. These likely control exterior lighting functions or maybe even wing deployment and retraction. I can’t image them controlling anything flight sensitive, as you wouldn’t want the pilot reaching to the other side of the cabin during flight – that just seems like a bad idea. The other thing to note here is that this cockpit is just a two seater, so owners will either be flying solo or with a single co-pilot. The seats look to be two piece units with the seatbacks in a fixed position. The seat cushions may be adjustable to a certain extent, but I wouldn’t expect much there either.

Drivetrain

2016 Aeromobil 3.0 High Resolution Interior Exterior
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For now, the Aeromobil 3.0 is just a prototype, so we don’t know a whole lot about the drivetrain department. For now, we know that the 3.0 is predominately built from an advanced composite material. This includes the body shell itself, the wings and the wheels. There is also an autopilot system, and an advanced parachute deployment system that I assume will come into play should there be a catastrophic failure of the engine while in flight – this would limit the possibility of death to the pilot, passenger, and anyone in the area where the plane would “crash land.”

Aeromobil claims that the wings have a variable attack angle that allows short takeoff and landing. Plus, there is an advanced suspension system that will allow it to take off and land on “relatively rough terrain.” This could open the doors to explore some places that are only accessible by helicopter and will make having your own personal airstrip a hell of a lot cheaper. We know the engine runs on gasoline, but Aeromobil has yet to drop details on performance figures, engine size, or fuel mileage. It does note that since this is still a prototype, things may change by the time the vehicle actually makes it into production.

Additional Information

2016 Aeromobil 3.0 High Resolution Interior Exterior
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As of now, Aeromobil is still going over the final configuration, but once everything is set in stone, manufacturing will start with deliveries hopefully commencing by the end of the decade. As far as licensing goes, you’ll probably need to obtain a private pilot’s license, especially here in the U.S., but Aeromobil suggests that is Sport Pilot License will be sufficient for early models. It points out that requirements for pilots licensing varies by country, but at least 40 hours of flight training is “strongly recommended.” On another note, the current configuration of the Aeromobil 3.0 places it in the Light Sport Aircraft category or Ultra-Light category in Europe. It is currently certified by the Slovak Federation of Ultralight Flying, but the production model may end up requiring certification in the normal category.

Pricing

As prototypes usually go, there is little pricing information to go by. The company’s FAQ section claims that the price will be similar to that of buying a sports car and a light sports aircraft, which it estimates to be “several hundreds of thousand Euro.” So, expect it to be expensive, but just how expensive is still a mystery to be solved. Needless to say, I’ll probably never own one, but it’s still fun to think about.

Conclusion

2016 Aeromobil 3.0 High Resolution Interior Exterior
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Normally I bust out a competition section before I come to a conclusion, but this baby really doesn’t have any competition to speak of. I mean I could compare it to other small aircraft, but none of them can drive on the road. On the other side of the spectrum, there isn’t a drivable car that can really fly. To the best of my knowledge, this is the only “flying car” that has enough momentum behind it to actually become a reality at this time. I have to say it is pretty damn cool to say the least. However, I’m not exactly sure how many people would actually drive this thing on a regular basis. It seems like the fact that it can hit the road is more of a novelty that anything. It would, however, be pretty damn convenient to fly across the country, land, and drive to dinner without having to step out of the vehicle.

Source: Aeromobil

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