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.
— Leslie Eastman ☥ (@Mutnodjmet) October 8, 2021
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