Fancy flying to work in your sports car? Who doesn’t. All you need is the AeroMobil 3.0, a driving licence, PPL, a tank of regular fuel and a patch of grass for landing and take-off. P1 talks to AeroMobil’s Stefan Vadocz about finally make the sci-fi dream a reality.
Q. The idea of a flying car has been talked about for at least 75 years. Why do you think the world needs a flying car?
A. Flying automobiles has been the subject of many studies. For example the Society of Automotive Engineers (study nr. 985536) addresses this same question and states that the main reasons why past attempts failed was because of deficiencies in those systems. In some of the previous designs, users had to manually remove the flight components and either store them at the airport or pull them behind the vehicle during road operation.
Flying cars of the future must provide improved mobility and must be user-friendly. This includes door-to-door travel, automatic car to aircraft conversion, superior navigation, they must reduce travel time drastically and must have superior design with long-term value.
We think that with AeroMobil 3.0 we are pretty close to this definition. Our team is working on a vehicle that can help solve many of today’s traffic problems – mainly road congestion or missing road infrastructure. We also want to bring back the excitement to personal travel, while making it sustainable.
Q. Who do you think would use the AeroMobil and for what types of journey?
A. The first AeroMobil will be a high-end luxury product combining a high performance car and a full-fledged small aircraft, produced in a limited edition. This will determine its first users, mainly technology early adopters.
We would like to sell or rent AeroMobil in several markets. Currently we are exploring our go to market strategies, because there is a clear need in the countries that lack infrastructure for cars and have legislation ready. Then there are countries that have strong Sport and Private pilot populations and those are very interesting market segments too.
As the types of journeys are concerned, according to the SAE study, it was found that “advanced flying automobiles” present potential economic gains for all travel distances ranging from 18 miles during rush hour to 1,429 miles.
Q. What qualifications would be required to fly the 3.0 and what take-off/landing would you need?
A. The user will need only a standard driving license and private pilot licence. Take-off is possible at any levelled grass surface and any sport, private or public airport. Projected take-off distance is 200m and landing distance is 50m.
Q. Where are you at in terms of testing and certification?
A. Flying vehicle AeroMobil 3.0 has started to fulfill the program of flight tests by executing more than 40 take-offs, short flights in low altitude and landings, as well as completion of full circle in an altitude of 250 meters in the area of Nitra airport. We started our obligatory flight tests program in October 2014 and we should finish all the flight tests by the end of February 2015. Then we should upgrade our preliminary airworthiness certificate to a full one.
At the same time we are working on car homologation, since this is very long-term process. We are working closely with experts on vehicle certification and hope to have first preliminary results this year.
Q. What makes AeroMobil 3.0 different from other flying car concepts that have come and gone?
A. We respect all other teams who are working on a vision of a flying car or multi-modal vehicle. The main difference in our case is in the methodology of transformation itself and its functionality. The conceptual features of the AeroMobil are substantially different from the other flying car concepts. Our concept unifies the features of a regular car and regular airplane without compromise on speed, dynamics, low fuel consumption. It fits a normal parking place and its design makes it an object of desire.
Design is an inevitable part of the whole concept. We shouldn’t see only functionality but also the aesthetical form of the object. The basic shape must be attractive enough and has to implement attributes important in the perception of the vehicle as an automobile, including the interior. The AeroMobil brings a brand new perception of functionality in terms of design, aesthetics and emotion.
Q. You are visiting trade shows and marketing the prototype, what are you hoping to achieve?
A. We are selecting the events where we show the prototype very carefully. Last year we showed the AeroMobil 3.0 at the Pioneers festival in Vienna, because it celebrates innovation, start-ups and pioneering work. At that festival we had a chance to tell the world about our vision and we collected a lot of positive feedback. The next presentation will be at the Top Marques Monaco show, where we will show the prototype with few upgrades and hope to collect feedback from future customers.
Q. With the advent of drones, will it be safe for people to take to the skies?
A. With the advent of NextGen airspace organisation, innovation on the ATC side, new technologies in the cockpit, we think it is much safer in the air than on the road.
You can see the AeroMobil 3.0 from April 16 to 19 at Top Marques Monaco, or visit www.aeromobil.com for more information