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FAA Approves California Company’s Prototype Flying Car for Test Flights

FAA Approves California Company’s Prototype Flying Car for Test Flights

The Alef “Model A” is available for pre-order, if you have $300,000 and an urge to intentionally go airborne in your vehicle.

A California firm’s prototype flying car has been approved by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to begin a series of test flights.

Alef Aeronautics said its “Model A” is the first flying vehicle that can drive on public roads and park like an average car to receive clearance for flight by the FAA.

The FAA confirmed the vehicle was given a special airworthiness certificate for purposes including research, development and exhibition.

The agency said the vehicle is not the first of its kind to be issued such a certificate, but Alef said the Model A is distinguished by being the only VTOL — vehicle takeoff and landing aircraft — to be able to drive and park like a normal car.

“We’re excited to receive this certification from the FAA. It allows us to move closer to bringing people an environmentally friendly and faster commute, saving individuals and companies hours each week. This is a one small step for planes, one giant step for cars,” Alef CEO Jim Dukhovny said in a news release.

Interestingly, the company has connections to Elon Musk’s SpaceX. It is also possible to place a Model A on pre-order if you have enough cash.

The vehicle, which is also 100% electric, is by Alef Aeronautics, a company in the automobile and aviation industry based in California whose goal is to develop and promote a flying car. The start-up is also backed by SpaceX, Business Insider reported.

With the company’s goal now realized, the FAA gave it legal permission to test the vehicle on the road and sky, media reports said. The company has reportedly been test-flying its prototype since 2019.

The flying car is referred to as “Model A,” and its test run is required before the vehicle can be released to the public. It is possible to pre-order a flying car on the Alef Aeronautics website for about $300 thousand – with customers obligated to pay $150 to be put on a waiting list, or pay ten times that amount for priority access once deliveries start, which is expected to only begin in about two years, multiple reports said.

Jim Dukhovny, Alef CEO, noted that the company had been conducting flights since 2018 and that the car had an aerial range of 110 miles. As part of a video presentation, he also explained some of the physics involved with the vehicle.

“We did the impossible, but we did not break the laws of physics—we fooled them,” Dukhovny said.

A computer-generated animation showed that the car contains eight rotating blades underneath its permeable bodywork, which allow it to rise vertically.

Once it is a few meters in the air, the whole car rotates sideways so that the blades can propel it forward, while the passenger seat turns so that the passenger remains upright during flight.

“The whole car becomes a wing—a biplane, a circular wing,” the founder of the Stanford Science Fiction Society said, adding that the car had “a very specific body-wing geometry” to allow it to fly with limited resistance.

Dukhovny said that while he hoped the car would eventually be used for longer-range flights, its vertical landing and take-off capabilities allowed it to “hop” over congested areas due to traffic jams or road accidents.

Given that this is a California firm, I wish the company tons of good luck. They will need it. Not only is our electrical grid potentially a problem, but so our are business-hating, woke, and arrogant public officials.


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The Packetman | July 6, 2023 at 7:33 am

I noticed while scrolling through the company video that they intend the car to be operated under drone regulations.

A bold strategy, considering Part 107 is specifically for unmanned aircraft systems.

    scooterjay in reply to The Packetman. | July 6, 2023 at 7:48 am

    Part 107 is a direct result of the airborne scourge of the 21st century…the multirotor “drone” that is not piloted but “suggested” by the operator.

      The Gentle Grizzly in reply to scooterjay. | July 6, 2023 at 8:18 am

      Around some areas, the four rotor drones are called “target practice”.

        They sell 12ga rounds specifically designed to disable drones (without simply blowing it apart). They usually look like something out of a bad 80s fantasy movie (the kind with “escaping slave girls” as a plot).

          GWB in reply to GWB. | July 6, 2023 at 10:18 am

          They usually look like something out of a bad 80s fantasy movie
          I am not saying that like it’s a bad thing.

    diver64 in reply to The Packetman. | July 6, 2023 at 6:06 pm

    Not really as there are far too few men in Cali that could pay for one of these

E Howard Hunt | July 6, 2023 at 7:56 am

Before placing an order, I’d like some more info about the coffee holder.

    Peabody in reply to E Howard Hunt. | July 6, 2023 at 10:07 am

    The coffee holders are multipurpose and can hold coffee or a small cylinder with 96 hours of oxygen. The one one the driver’s side is handily located right next to the game controller.

George jetson in the year 2062

More than likely, the “V” stands for “vertical”.

henrybowman | July 6, 2023 at 1:14 pm

Tell the dealer I’ll be there just as soon as I’m finished taking selfies with the Titanic.

healthguyfsu | July 6, 2023 at 1:31 pm

I’m definitely not taking a solar-powered version, a hydrogen tank version, or a battery-powered version up.

lately I’ve been having the urge to build a street legal go-cart for around town. I want to spend 3k for my near death fun in transportation

    GWB in reply to Andy. | July 6, 2023 at 2:17 pm

    my near death fun
    Why do that, when you can spend the same amount of money on a bicycle and the necessary spandex? Ride it the right way and you can fly, too.

    *sets timer on the bike/driver bashing and runs*