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Another flying car gets FAA approval for flight testing

Aska-5 flying car
The Aska-5 flying car

The FAA has approved another flying car for flight testing, this time for a flying car designed to also be able to do vertical take-offs if necessary.

The Aska A5 … has four wheels and four seats. Like the Klein Vision [another flying car proposal], it can take off on a runway if there’s one available. Unlike the Klein Vision, it can also takeoff on a very short runway, or indeed no runway at all, thanks to an electric VTOL [vertical take-off and landing] system that folds out at the touch of a button. And unlike, say, the Xpeng AeroHT [a different flying car proposal], it’s capable of transitioning to efficient, winged cruise mode to expand its range.

The A5 will look fairly ridiculous driving down the road, all propellers and struts, a clog with a dishrack full of cutlery piled on top. But when the main rear wing and canard fold out, it all makes a lot more sense. There are six large propellers, four at the back, two at the front, and in VTOL operations these will lift the Aska off the ground and allow it to hover. For forward flight, the two inner rear propellers can tilt forward, allowing horizontal thrust in cruise mode with the rest of the props switched off and the car’s weight supported by its wings.

The proposed price tag for the Aska-5 is presently just under $800K, though it will be a while before you can buy one. The company says it is doing both driving and flight testing, but provided no images or data of it in the air. Thus, a lot of work remains before you could climb in, drive from your home to an airport and take off.

The company says it has $50 million in preorders. If so, at least 50 people think this might be the real deal.

Genesis cover

On Christmas Eve 1968 three Americans became the first humans to visit another world. What they did to celebrate was unexpected and profound, and will be remembered throughout all human history. Genesis: the Story of Apollo 8, Robert Zimmerman's classic history of humanity's first journey to another world, tells that story, and it is now available as both an ebook and an audiobook, both with a foreword by Valerie Anders and a new introduction by Robert Zimmerman.

 

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9 comments

  • Mitch S.

    If you go through the past 75 years of Popular Science/ Popular Mechanics, how many issues DON’T have a flying car proposal? I expect not many.

  • pzatchok

    A cute concept that has no legs.
    Self driving cars do not work perfect yet and they think a self flying helicopter would be better?

    For 800,000 dollars I could buy both a nice car and a helicopter.

    If they start building and selling self flying 4 passenger quad copters I would think they would be miles closer to adding a driving road feature to them.

    Or spend a bit more and build a helicopter that uses a small car as the passenger, pilot area. Back into the flying part and fly off, Then land and drive off.

    Imagine if in the future they hack one of these flying machines and plow it into a target of their choice. 4 people could equal a thousand pounds of explosives.

  • Cotour

    I would think that a true flying car would be able to transition effortlessly between the two and not have to drive to an airport to take off. To me it is either one or the other. We are not exactly there yet. Ducted fans, high output electric motors and high output reliable battery technology will get us somewhere near there.

    $50 million in orders? Says the company.

    This might have some civilian / state / military rescue or patrol application? But driving around town? Really?

    I like this aspect of this vehicle however: “The Aska A5, the size of an SUV, is a drive-and-fly eVTOL that can travel by both land and air. The A5 is equipped with a hybrid energy system that consists of batteries and a range extender engine that charges the batteries during flight, utilizing readily available premium gasoline from existing gas stations.”

    Related: “A while ago I identified this company, Joby Aviation, and its battery powered eVTOL (Electric Vertical Take-Off and Landing) design as being a desirable and well laid out configuration, it technically and esthetically made sense to me. The high wing, the transitional power units that drive the specially designed and nearly silent rotor blades. A beautifully executed aircraft made mostly of carbon fiber that will transport 4 people 150 miles at about 200 MPH along with a pilot.”

    https://www.sigma3ioc.com/post/joby-the-future-of-air-travel

    Choose one mode of transport and do it very well.

    https://th.bing.com/th/id/OIF.QppCJ9x2DzQunVqeELYapg?pid=ImgDet&rs=1

  • pzatchok

    Do you really think the government is going to let you take off and land in suburbia or even a Walmart parking lot?

    It takes a bit of paperwork to even get a helicopter landing pad in your own property.
    Local laws are the first that have to be surmounted then state and then Federal.

    There are a hundred flying car concepts around the world and so far one or two have actually flown let alone be sold.

    Electric aircraft are still a bit far off for now also.
    https://www.nbcnews.com/science/science-news/largest-electric-plane-yet-completed-its-first-flight-it-s-n1221401
    I like this idea
    https://www.aviationconsumer.com/aircraftreviews/pipistrels-alpha-electro-electric-flight-realized/

  • Cotour

    No, not at all, that is my point.

    A “flying car” is a fanciful concept that every young and old man wants, but is it really accomplishable as proposed? No.

    This was one of the first attempts at the concept, but it went nowhere, literally.

    The Moeller Sky Car: https://www.thedrive.com/content/2017/07/moller-skycar.jpg?quality=85

    The Joby concept will be operational in the real world soon enough it is well on its way to FAA certification. Joby’s market cap at the moment? Around $6 billion dollars. And that and the proper engineering and technology is what makes something like a “Flying car” real. And there are many interesting designs out there, but most are one offs or very limited.

    In the real world: “Choose one mode of transport and do it very well.”

  • Ming O'Mongo

    The year after there are no road accidents, I will CONSIDER supporting flying cars. Idiots in two dimensions make me leery of idiots in three.

  • Mike Borgelt

    Search for J.Storrs Hall “Where’s my flying car?”
    The whole sad story is laid out there.

  • Jeff Wright

    When I think flying car….I think anti-gravity.

  • Bird of Paradise

    Press a Button it folds into a Briefcase

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