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FAA Approves First Flying Car Known As ‘Model A’ 

This week, the company Alef Aeronautics announced that their “Model A” flying car was granted legal permission from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to test run the vehicle on both the road and the sky. The vehicle will need to run through testing before it can be made available and released to the public.

Alef Aeronautics is the first company to gain the Special Airworthiness Certification from the FAA, the company said in a news release. This specific certification is also given to limit the locations and purpose for the vehicle and where it’s allowed to fly. 

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Before the vehicle can take flight, it also needs to meet the safety standards of the National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration. Alef CEO Jim Dukhovny stated that the company is “hopeful” that the “certification will be our next step.”

“The historical significance of this cannot be overstated. While there have been pioneers like Terrafugia, Paul Moller, and Henry Ford, this is the first time a vehicle, in the traditional sense (parks and drives like a car, functions like a car, looks like a car), has received permission to fly,”  Dukhovny said to USA TODAY

“It’s also important that Alef is the first electric car which received permission to fly. And, last but not least, the ability for vertical takeoff is central to most people’s conception of a ‘flying car.'”

During the “Model A’s” development and testing, Alef is required to report any issues, malfunctions, and/or defects to the US government agency under the Code of Federal Regulation. 

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Model A is also available for preorder, it will be able to hold up to two occupants, will sell for around $300,000, and is 100% electric. In the release, the company also stated the vehicle will be drivable on public roads and has vertical takeoff and landing capabilities. 

“The car will be a Low Speed Vehicle, meaning it won’t go faster than about 25 miles per hour on a paved surface. If a driver needs a faster route, they will be able to use the vehicle’s flight capabilities,” according to Alef.

Presales opened up on Friday. Interested customers were able to pay a $150 deposit to get on a waiting list, or $1,500 for a priority spot on the waiting list’s queue. 

The company has been test driving and flying the car’s prototype since 2019. The version that customers could receive has a driving range of 200 miles and a flight range of 110 miles. 

“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,” said Alef CEO Jim Dukhovny.

The company has stated that they plan to start delivering the vehicles to customers by late 2025.

Electric Car

Boeing And Porsche Team Up In Hopes To Make Worlds First Flying Electric Car

Boeing, the major United States air crafting developer, and Porsche, German car company, are teaming up to potentially give the world its first ever electric flying car. The two companies made the announcement on Thursday, stating that they want to “explore the premium urban air mobility market and the extension of urban traffic into airspace,” through “a fully electric vertical takeoff and landing vehicle,” according to CNN

The announcement was overall very vague. They didn’t include any target release date, how much money each would be contributing, or how much they predict these flying cars would even cost. However, getting into the electric car business has been a plan for Volkswagen, Porsche’s parent company, for a few years now. The company announced recently that it plans to begin to develop and distribute more electric vehicles throughout the next decade in an effort to reduce their carbon footprints. Volkswagen, more specifically, wants to distribute up to 22 million electric car variations throughout its many brands, I guess the one for Porsche just happens to be a flying one in development. 

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“We are combining the strengths of two leading global companies to address a potential key market segment of the future. In the longer term, this could mean moving into the third dimension of travel,” says Detlev von Platen, a member of the Porsche board in charge of sales and marketing. 

“Porsche and Boeing together bring precision engineering, style and innovation to accelerate urban air mobility worldwide,” said Steve Nordlund, general manager of Boeing NeXt, a unit of the company working on next generation vehicles and aircraft.

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Boeing alone brought in over $100 billion in revenue in 2018, according to CNN, and has already made headlines through the creation of some “air taxi” prototypes. Earlier this year Boeing even did a few test flights of its autonomous air taxi. The vehicle’s didn’t actually go to any destination, or even have anyone on board, but the preliminary hover tests are essential to the production of any future products, perhaps like the one upcoming with Porsche. Boeing is one of the first companies to try to enter into the “air taxi” field, but close behind them are brands like Airbus, and even Uber, all of which are trying to enter into what they believe is the next big mode of transportation. 

Critics are responding to these new innovative “ideas” from all these companies with questions over the logistics. Tesla was able to make headlines by developing and distributing the now very popular self driving cars and SUVs, however, even those are experiencing some major malfunctions as newer features are added to them. So consumers are worried that if manufacturers can’t perfect self-driving cars, how are they going to master the science behind flying cars? If only George Jetson could be reading this article right now…

“Boeing has a production style product flying and has gone to the extent of publicizing the efforts. That shows that Boeing is taking this urban area mobility thing quite seriously. We have the ingredients for a different generation of aircraft that wasn’t really feasible 10 years ago. We’re going back to that golden age of innovation where people are trying new things,” says Eric BartschCEO at VerdeGo Aero, which develops the power systems for Boeing.