The bad news is flying cars are crashing. The good news is their parachutes work.
What regular folk call a “crash-landing” is something Slovakia-based AeroMobil would prefer to be termed as an “unexpected situation”.
It occurred on Friday during a test flight. The pilot was Stefan Klein, who also, impressively, happens to be AeroMobil’s co-founder.
AeroMobil’s latest iteration is version 3.0, a real flying car which has been in development since 1989.
In flight, it can reach 198km/h and fly for 690km on a full tank. Yes, you can land it and drive to the nearest petrol station for a refill.
Here it is in action recently in March:
On Friday, however, witnesses told Slovakia-based news site Nitra they saw the vehicle “in a tailspin”.
At 300m, Klein managed to get the parachute out, which softened his impact. He was taken immediately to hospital and discharged without any sign of serious injury.
— Juraj Vaculik (@jurajvaculik) May 8, 2015
The V3.0 wasn’t so lucky:
— Gizmodo UK (@GizmodoUK) May 11, 2015
In AeroMobil’s words, the vehicle “encountered an unexpected situation and activated the advanced ballistic parachute system in an altitude of approximately 300 meters (900 feet)”.
“The system has proved itself fully functional and landed the entire vehicle without any injury to the pilot.”
While AeroMobil wants it to be seen as a “learning experience”, it’s a nervous setback for flying cars fans worldwide.
AeroMobil CEO Juraj Vaculik recently indicated the vehicle is intended for “wealthy supercar buyers and flight enthusiasts” and wants it on sale in 2017. It’s expected to cost in the vicinity of $300,000.
AeroMobil’s main competition, the Terrafugia Transition, is also in the air for testing, but is not expected to be market ready until around the same time as the AeroMobil.
Until then, your best bet for a personal flight to work remains New Zealand’s Martin Jetpack, which promises deliveries of the $256,000 strap-on in 2016.
And to tide you over, here’s a new video of Switzerland’s “Jetman” Yves Rossy showing us what it will be like to fly when jetpacks can actually lift human cargo off the ground.