A Revolutionary Flying Car Prototype Receives Airworthiness Certificate from FAA
In a groundbreaking development, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has granted an airworthiness certificate for testing to a California-based startup, Alef Automotive, for their innovative flying car prototype. This certification marks a significant milestone as it is the first fully electric vehicle capable of both flying and traversing roads to receive official approval from the US government.
Named the “Model A,” Alef Automotive’s vehicle/aircraft is set to revolutionize transportation. It boasts the remarkable feature of being drivable on public roads, able to park just like any regular car, and equipped with vertical takeoff and landing capabilities. The vehicle is designed to accommodate one or two occupants, with a road-range of 200 miles and a flying range of 110 miles.
Alef Automotive aims to bring their cutting-edge creation to market at a price point of $300,000 per unit, with the first deliveries anticipated by the end of 2025.
Confirming the news, the FAA has issued Alef Automotive a special airworthiness certificate, enabling the company to conduct limited activities such as exhibition, research, and development.
While several companies are actively pursuing the development of all-electric vehicle takeoff and landing aircraft (VTOLs), the FAA has clarified that Alef is not the first of its kind to receive a special airworthiness certificate. However, Alef distinguishes itself by virtue of its vehicle’s unique ability to function seamlessly on both roads and in the air, effortlessly blending into regular traffic and fitting into standard parking spaces.
Expressing his enthusiasm, Jim Dukhovny, the CEO of Alef, said, “We’re thrilled to receive this certification from the FAA. It brings us one step closer to providing people with an environmentally friendly and faster commute, saving individuals and companies countless hours each week. This marks a small step for planes and a giant leap for cars.”
According to Alef Automotive’s website, the flying car will be classified as a “low-speed vehicle,” limiting its maximum speed on paved roads to approximately 25 miles per hour. The company’s reasoning behind this is that if a driver requires a faster route, they can utilize the flight capabilities of the Alef vehicle. However, the prototype still requires approval from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration before it can legally operate on public roads.
The development of Alef Automotive’s vehicle commenced in 2015 when four friends—Constantine Kisly, Pavel Markin, Oleg Petrov, and Dukhovny—inspired by the futuristic “Back to the Future” movies, decided to form a company dedicated to realizing the concept of flying cars.
Alef Automotive reported that an initial automated test flight of a skeletal version of the car was successfully conducted in 2018, followed by a flight of a full-size prototype the following year. However, the company emphasized that the FAA’s special airworthiness certificate was crucial to continue their vital research and development efforts.
Furthermore, Alef Automotive disclosed earlier this year that they had received over 400 refundable pre-orders for their flying car, with prices set at $150 to join the general queue or $1,500 for the priority queue.
The future is certainly looking up for Alef Automotive as they pioneer a new era of transportation, blurring the boundaries between land and sky. With the necessary certifications in place, their flying car prototype is poised to redefine the way we travel, offering a sustainable and time-efficient solution for the daily commute.