German Company Debuts New Flying Car

It’s 2015, so where’s our flying car? Turns out cars make terrible airplanes and airplanes make terrible cars. But after 2,000 prototypes over the past century, we’re still waiting.

Now a German-based company known as Carplane wants to offer up a bi-modal vehicle for individual road and air transport. And if it actually happens, which we have serious doubts, it will be the world’s first regularly-certified aircraft to conform to road emissions standards.

The design reportedly will convert between modes in 15 seconds and it’s currently being developed at the Research Airport in Brauschweig, Germany. That’s not surprising in a country where the autobahn rules and performance is a national passion.

Good road performance drove the design for this nearly-completed prototype that just made its public debut at the Aero Friedrichafen general aviation show last month. The company is focused on getting the prototype flying later this year. 

The craft is powered by a 151-hp piston engine burning unleaded gasoline, which drives a 7-position gearbox with four forward options and one reverse in “car” mode, plus one that drives the pusher propeller in flight, and one that drives wheels and prop for a shorter takeoff.

For years we’ve been teased with the prospect of a flying car. Terrafugia Transition has had a model under development for years but it’s yet to arrive in garages and hangars. And there have actually been more than 2,000 other flying-car projects over the last century. But Carplane thinks they have solved the riddle and believes there’s also a solid business case for their product.

Developed with money from the EU and German state of Lower Saxony, they claim their product will fly at least as well as a trainer plane and drive as well as a compact car. It just might not be for comic books and science fiction anymore.

Photo credit: Carplane