Weighing in at about 100kg with retractable propellor arms and a streamlined body, the “Fighting Gazelle” is the answer to Chinese Sci-fi fans’ dreams. The flying car was unveiled last week at the 5-day China Helicopter Exposition in Tianjin, which this year showcased 50 new helicopters.
The Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC) is developing the car to deal with rough terrain, and especially stretches of road with obstructions. Hong Xiao, the head of the helicopter office in the AVIC, told CCTV: “While you are driving to where the road is broken, or facing a gully, you can press a button to lift the car. It will then fly over the obstacles and reach the other side of the road.” He added that the propellor arms retract to return the vehicle into car-mode.
The current 100kg model isn’t a vehicle for transporting people, the makers are still working on a heavier version capable of doing so. Like a drone, it has passed unmanned flight tests and future models are intended for military usage. They may even go into commercial production.
Hong says, “Our next plan is to make one weighing around two to three tons in two years time.”
The flying car has been trending on Chinese social networking.
by Daniel Cunningham