Dec 31 - A Slovakian designer has produced a flying car which he hopes could help countries with poor transport infrastructure. Andrew Potter reports.
It's long been the stuff of science fiction. A car which can sprout wings and take to the skies. In this studio in Slovakia, Stefan Klein has made his childhood dream a reality, and produced a real life flying car, called the Aeromobil. (SOUNDBITE) (Slovak) FLYING CAR DESIGNER, STEFAN KLEIN, SAYING: "This is not the final prototype, but as you can see the entire object is made out of very simple materials and its design is identical to the original look. We already tested it downtown, its parking skills and driving on the highway. On the highway it reaches up to 130 kilometres per hour without any problem." On those highways the Aeromobil's distinctive styling is likely to turn heads. But what happens next is the real secret. (SOUNDBITE) (Slovak) DESIGNER STEFAN KLEIN SAYING: "This is the transformation when the wings open within a few seconds. This is the key moment when the angle of the wing inclination is changed. A part of them tilts which simulates the rotation of the plane body." Klein says one of the key benefits of a flying car is eliminating time spent at airports waiting for conventional aircraft. Beyond that, being used in places where airports don't exist at all. (SOUNDBITE) (Slovak) DESIGNER STEFAN KLEIN SAYING: "Of course we don't expect the aeromobil to solve the problems of global transportation. Anyway it can be very interesting for countries where (transport) infrastructure doesn't exist, where two places 700 kilometres apart are connected only by provisional roads. There it could radically change transport conditions. For the countries where transportation by small aircraft is frequently used - like the United States, Australia, New Zealand or Africa, this can bring a new quality impulse. The same applies for countries where small aircraft transport is starting to be used, like China or Russia, where the distances are huge and the infrastructure almost doesn't exist, it can be very interesting." The latest Aeromobil model will be produced next year. Then, it's hoped, the machine will finally be available for customers to buy.