Following its debut at SAE Aerotech about a month ago, the Aeromobil 2.5 has been getting a bit of attention from the likes of Flying and Drive (video report below)... because it's designed to do both. As the story goes, industrial designer and engineer Stefan Klein has been working on the design for some two decades, logging miles while clocking in at Audi, BMW and Volkswagen; co-founder Juraj Vaculík is credited as an "ad man" and "angel investor." Based in Slovakia, Aeromobil's latest working prototype is the proof-of-concept for the third generation of the flying car, and it's a doozy.
Unlike the accordion-style wings of the Terrafugia, the Aeromobil features a kind of 'variable-sweep' design (apologies if my aeronautics terminology is off the mark), where the wings neatly tuck behind the cockpit when not in use; when extended, the wingspan is 8.2m. Meanwhile, the 100hp Rotax 912 engine powers travel speeds of up to 160kph on the road and 200kph in flight, with a takeoff speed of 130kph; the discrepancy is more or less proportional to the ranges of 500km and 700km respectively. All else equal, the fuel consumption is about the same in either mode, and according to Gizmag:
Klein says that in car mode the Aeromobil fits into a standard parking space and can be refueled at the same gas station as all the other cars—in other words, it does not require special aviation fuel like most aircraft. The flying car is extremely lightweight, coming in at less than half the weight of a compact car like the Ford Fiesta, which weighs 1,041 kg (2295 lbs). The structure is a steel tube frame with a carbon fiber composite shell, a configuration familiar to fans of racing cars.
In a 2011 interview with Slovakian auto magazine SME, Klein divulged that he had originally intended to study scultpure—"a Renaissance discipline at the intersection of technology and art—before switching to design. Google Translate is a little wonky, but somehow a question about butter packaging leads to praise of Ettore Bugatti; Klein later makes a reference to filmmaker Fritz Lang and perhaps what Fosta called "The Future Mundane." He also predicts that he would have a flying car on the market in a couple of years, and with the Aeromobil 2.5, he's tantalizingly close. (As for laws and regulations, that's another matter entirely.)
Check out the full in passably translated English here.
Version 1.0 above; V2.0 below