Nov. 20 - Slovak engineer Stefan Klein says he's fulfilling his childhood dream, designing a flying car he hopes will soon be ready for commercialisation. Klein says he sees the greatest potential for his invention in countries with poor transport infrastructure. Rob Muir has more.
It's called the Aeromobil 2.5, a flying car designed to one day provide efficient transportation in countries where infrastructure is limited. For designer Stefan Klein, the aeromobil is the realisation of a dream - a commercially viable, flying car. (SOUNDBITE) AEROMOBIL DESIGNER STEFAN KLEIN SAYING: "I wanted to integrate the modern communication technology as well as designer aspects so that the object is attractive and doesn't look bizarre on the road." At six metres, it's certainly longer than average car. It's designed to carry two people, and can cruise comfortably along the highway at 130 kilometrers per hour. And then, Klein says, when it reaches the airport, the car becomes a plane, with the flick of a switch. (SOUNDBITE) AEROMOBIL DESIGNER STEFAN KLEIN SAYING: "This is the transformation when the wings open within a few seconds. This is the key moment when the angle of the wing inclination is changed. A part of them tilts which simulates the rotation of the (plane) body." At his design studio in Bratislava, Klein and his team are working on improvements. A new version of the flying car called Aeromobil 3, is scheduled for production next year, taking a Klein a step closer to his ultimate goal. (SOUNDBITE) AEROMOBIL DESIGNER STEFAN KLEIN SAYING: "Of course we don't expect the aeromobil to solve the problems of global transportation. But it could be very interesting for countries where transport infrastructure doesn't exist, where two places 700 kilometres apart are connected only by provisional roads. There it could radically change transport conditions. " The 52-year-old engineer and designer, himself an amateur pilot, started working on the flying car in the early 1990s. He hopes it won't be too many more years before his project is ready to take off commercially.