The Future of Advanced Air Mobility

Slovakia-based AeroMobil claims that its two-seat 4.0 model STOL personal aerial vehicle will be ready to enter commercial service in 2023, powered by a conventional gas engine. AeroMobil also is working on an electrically powered vehicle that would have VTOL capability and be suitable for air taxi operations. It had intended hopes to build a full-scale prototype of the four-seat 5.0 model by 2025, but as of December 2020 work on that project had been temporarily suspended.

In early September 2019, AeroMobil revealed plans for a new 6.0 model that it said would be its first true eVTOL aircraft, built solely for flight operations. It classes the 4.0 and 5.0 as "flying cars." The company indicated that it intends to present a scaled model of the new design "within a few months," suggesting that it could be unveiled by late 2019.

The planned performance specifications for the 6.0 do not appear to have been fully defined. The company says it is trying to determine what range and payload to focus on out of the following three bands: 30 km (1 to 2 passengers), 30- to 70 km (2 passengers) and 70 km (four passengers). However, it believes that the market for eVTOL aircraft will not be sufficiently well developed until around 2030 and on this basis it is deferring development plans.

In June 2019, AeroMobil's engineering team achieved a ground test run with the Prodrive 2-liter, 4-cylinder engine that will power the 4.0. The first prototype fitted with this engine was supposed to make a first flight before the end of 2019 and, as of mid-August 2019, the company's engineering team was assembling the wing. The engine generates 300 hp to run a 2,400-rpm direct-drive propeller, supporting projected flight range of around 440 miles (700 km) and speeds of up to 166 mph (260 km/h).

AeroMobil filed a type certification application with the European Union Aviation Safety Agency in December 2018. The 4.0 is due to be certified under EASA's CS23 regulations and separately as an M1 category road vehicle, with the company projecting a 2023 target date for completion.

The larger 5.0 model was still at the concept stage as of August 2019, with one early version of the aircraft built so far and being used to assess various possible configurations for the series production model. It is expected to be powered by a 100-hp Rotax 912 piston aircraft engine.

In July 2019, AeroMobil announced that private investor Omid Vaziri had joined an existing group of backers to take the total amount raised for the company to around $27 million.

In September 2019, the company also reported that it is working with unnamed "leading" automobile manufacturers to develop cabin interiors for its flying cars and eVTOL aircraft. It argued that customer acceptance will not be high if the level of cabin comfort is little better than that available in existing light aircraft. 

In a December 2020 briefing with FutureFlight, AeroMobil CEO Patrick Hessel confirmed that the company had begun flight testing a 4.0 prototype over the summer months. He explained that the model represents extensive improvements from an earlier 3.0 design and is the result of no fewer than 250,000 hours of engineering work and around 10,000 hours of "virtual" and "real" testing, including flights as the company prepares to get a full experimental test certificate. 

According to Hessel, the company is now looking to select partners to supply key components for the production vehicle. Its business plan calls for it to sub-contract final assembly to a contractor. However, flight testing is due to continue to meet the remaining CS-23 certification requirements, with some minor design changes anticipated to optimize performance. During the latest round of flight tests, the 4.0 achieved its top-speed target of 160 mph and an unspecified stall speed. It also demonstrated its ability to take off in just 1,300 feet, its stall speed of around 60 kts (69 mph), and achieved a rate of climb of over 1,200 feet per minute.

Timeline

Full-scale prototype of 5.0 model built
Projected

first delivery

AeroMobil 4.0 first delivery and service entry
Missed Projection

test flight

As of late January 2020, AeroMobil had not confirmed whether the 4.0 prototype has flown. 

investment

AeroMobil announced that during 2019 it has raised approximately $4.4 million in fresh investment from several backers, including UK-based investor Omid Vaziri, Israel's Focus Capital Group and China's Weilong Enterprise. Earlier investment came from the Slovak Investment Holding (owned by the government-backed Slovak Guarantee and Development Bank), AeroMobil chairman Patrick Hessel (founder of carb0n-fiber composite specialist C2i), and asset manager IPM Group.

The 2019 funding round,  supported by Rothschild & Co bank, raised total investment for the company to $27 million

test flight

AeroMobil engines completed a ground test run for the automobile engine that will power the 4.0 flying car, preparing the way for a planned test flight in late 2019.

Outlook

Our objective assessment of this program’s probable success.

FutureFlight assesses the probability of success for a new aircraft program by considering the following criteria:

  • Total investment funds available in proportion to the anticipated cost of getting an aircraft certified and in service
  • A company’s in-house capability (in terms of numbers of engineers, technical staff, and customer support teams)
  • The past experience of the company and its senior leadership in developing aircraft
  • The caliber and past experience of key program partners
  • Whether key aircraft systems have been selected and are available for use
  • Whether the preliminary design review has been completed
  • Whether the design for the full-scale prototype has been completed
  • Whether the type certification process has been formally initiated with an appropriate regulator
  • Whether the company has achieved a first flight with a full-scale prototype
  • The number of hours logged in a flight test program
  • Whether type certification has been achieved
  • The number of orders and commitment received for the aircraft
  • Whether the company has adequate facilities to begin series production of the aircraft
Our Methodology

AeroMobil received a significant financial boost from a fresh round of fundraising that added around $5 million to its capital base. The cash injection has come from a variety of investors, including UK-based Omid Vaziri, Israel's Focus Capital Group and China's Weilong Enterprise. Earlier investment came from the Slovak Investment Holding (owned by the government-backed Slovak Guarantee and Development Bank), AeroMobil chairman Patrick Hessel (founder of carbon-fiber composite specialist C2i) and asset manager IPM Group. This support totaled around $27 million, which does not seem sufficient to allow the almost 10-year-old company to complete development work for its planned 4.0 and 5.0 models. 

In late 2019 Hessel took over from Juraj Vaculik, who stepped down due to ill-health. He appears to have rebooted the company's business plan during the course of 2020. Over the summer months, AeroMobil did at last manage to start flight testing of the 4.0 model and it now appears to have a more realistic path to type certification with a revised target date of 2023.

The company is seeking to appoint suppliers and is making plans to sub-contract final assembly to another company. It argues that this "asset-lean" approach makes better sense to investors. It remains to be seen if it will result in a credible and well-supported product for early adopters of flying cars in the as-yet untested business-to-consumer sector.

AeroMobil Models

AeroMobil 4.0 Specifications

local stol Flying Car/Hover Bike

Performance

  • Passenger Capacity
    2
  • Range
    440 mi
  • Cruise Speed
    166 mph
  • Powerplant Type
    propeller
  • Power Source
    gasoline
  • Endurance
    n/a
  • Max Altitude
    n/a
  • Takeoff Distance
    1,952 ft
  • Landing Distance
    n/a
  • Empty Weight
    n/a
  • MGTOW
    2,116 lb
  • Payload Weight
    529 lb

Dimensions

  • Length
    19 ft
  • Width
    7 ft
  • Height
    5 ft
  • Wingspan
    29 ft

The AeroMobil 4.0 is designed as a flying car, powered by a 2.0-liter, turbocharged 4-cylinder boxer automotive engine. The powerplant provides 300 bhp to drive a single propeller at the rear. The two-seat vehicle should take three minutes to transition from road to flight mode.

Key Personnel

Juraj Vaculik is co-founder and CEO of AeroMobil
Juraj Vaculik

Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Founder

Douglas MacAndrew, CTO AeroMobil
Douglas MacAndrew

Chief Technology Officer (CTO)

Patrick Hessel
Patrick Hessel

Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Chairman