Flying car saved by parachute

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A test flight of an experimental flying car came crashing to a halt when the pilot deployed the aircraft’s ballistic parachute system at 900 feet.

Similar to the above video, the ‘AeroMobil 3.0’ was being flown by its inventor and test pilot, Stephan Klein, near the city of Nitra, Slovakia as part of a testing program last week when he encountered an ‘unexpected situation’, reported by witnesses as an ‘unrecoverable tailspin’.

With the parachute deployed, the aircraft drifted to ground, but as these photos show, sustained major damage from the impact. The pilot was taken to hospital but was released later that day.

AeroMobil, while no doubt disappointed with the incident, praised the effectiveness of the ballistic parachute. ‘The system has proved itself fully functional and landed the entire vehicle without any injury to the pilot,’ the company said.

AeroMobil also said that the data gathered from the crash would provide valuable insight in what went wrong and how it can be prevented in the future.

‘The detailed data and overall experience from this test flight will be thoroughly analy[s]ed and the results will be used in the ongoing R&D and improvements of the prototype,’ the company added. ‘Testing of the current prototype 3.0 and further product development will continue after the replacement of the damaged parts.’

AeroMobil concluded ‘In the process of developing new vehicles, especially in the prototype phase, the possibility and likelihood of an unexpected situation is a natural part of the testing program. It is necessary to test the prototype in every way possible to establish its limits and to improve on them.’

The AeroMobil has been in development since 1990, when the 1.0 prototype was announced. It’s evolved to the current 3.0 version that’s fitted with collapsible wings and a Rotax 912 engine that runs on standard unleaded automobile fuel.

With a maximum take-off weight of 600 kg, max air speed at 200 km/h and a range of 700 km carrying two people, the AeroMobil is a promising concept.

Still to be developed into a marketable product, AeroMobil hope to start taking preliminary orders in 2016.

Flight Safety Australia has previously reported on the effectiveness of the ballistic parachutes, highlighting multiple occurrences of Cirrus aircraft using the system, along with the Volocopter, another aircraft prototype that utilises a ballistic parachute.

 

1 COMMENT

  1. I’m skeptical of the safety of flying cars to occupants and the general public if large numbers are allowed to operate. I’m assuming these vehicles will takeoff and land from any road or highway, so how are such takeoffs and landings controlled, and how do they operate safely at night. Conventional aircraft at least have to operate out of airfields where the danger of obstructions is controlled or eliminated. How will collisions with powerlines, trees, buildings around roads, and each other, be avoided. Ballistic parachutes aside, loss of control or collisions can lead to large loss of lives if they occur over heavily populated areas, for example, shopping centres where presumably these vehicles could be heading to. How will the licensing of drivers/pilots be regulated and what is there to stop untrained people from operating flying cars.

    Conventional aircraft pose risks also, but these risks have been minimized to acceptable levels through extensive training, radio communication, control towers, compulsory maintenance, etc, and by giving them their own fields to operate from. Also there are comparatively few conventional aircraft operating at any one time making their regulation easier and surer.

    Until very advanced electronic devices and controls are installed to make flying cars as safe as possible, I can’t see them as being a safe form of transport.

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