The last flying car I got the hots for was that high-winged AMC Matador driven/flown by the dastardly Francisco Sacaramanga in the 1974 James Bond romp The Man With The Golden Gun.
By all accounts the Matador flew pretty well. But it came with the teeny-weeny problem of what do you do with that huge removable wing when the flying car was being used as a road car. Leave it in the garage? I don’t think so.
A far more serious piece of aeronautical kit is the Aeromobil 3.0 being developed in Slovakia of all places and due to go into production in 2017.
It was making its show debut at the recent Top Marques Monaco supercar show in Monte-Carlo which I was fortunate enough to spend some time walking the aisles.
The Aeromobil is the dream of wealthy Slovakian, Juray Vaculik who has been trying to turn his dream into reality since 1989.
His major landmark came towards the end of last year when the Aeromobil took to the skies in Vienna and has since clocked-up an impressive seven hours of flying time and more than 40 hours on the road.
The beauty of Vaculik’s design is that it allows the Aeromobil to take its own wings with it. So at the flick of a switch, eight powerful servo motors power the wings from out of the sides of the body and then lock them tightly into position. From car to plane takes just two and a half minutes.
Then, find yourself an 650-foot strip of grass or smooth asphalt, and the “Flying Roadster” as Juray calls it, will soar into the skies. Take-off speed is 68mph, and once in the air, it has a top speed of 125mph and a range of over 400 miles.
Power comes from an aviation-grade 100-hp Rotax engine driving the rear-mounted, rear-facing four-blade propellor.
Back on the ground – and it needs just 160 feet of runway to land – the wings fold back into the carbon-fiber body and computers automatically disengage the drive from the propellor and connect it to the front wheels.
Then you basically drive it like a regular car, albeit one that’s 19-feet-long – that’s longer than a Rolls-Royce Phantom – and comes with just two seats. Top speed on the road is 100mph.
Aeromobil communications chief Stefan Vadocz told me that the real appeal of the Aeromobil – apart from offering a ton of fun – would be for busy business execs covering distances of around 400 miles.
Traveling commercial at that distance, what with the hours spent getting to and from and through the airport, isn’t a good use of time. And driving by car just takes too long.
If you could drive the Aeromobil from your home to a local airfield – or in the case of John Travolta take off from the runway outside your front door – then land and drive to your appointment, the flying car starts to make sense.
But, but…the projected million dollar asking price would buy someone plenty of time on NetJets with money left over for plenty of drivers with comfy black Mercedes S-Class limos waiting by the steps to whisk you away.
As a fun toy for the mega-wealthy aviation junkie however, there would probably be nothing cooler. I’d have one in a heartbeat.