Flying Car Prepares for Takeoff After Receiving First-Ever FAA Approval

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For decades, The Jetsons and Back to the Future have had us patiently awaiting the arrival of flying cars in everyday life. That dream is now one step closer thanks to the Federal Aviation Administration.

On June 27, California-based Alef Aeronautics announced that the FAA granted a Special Airworthiness Certification to its Model A prototype. First revealed in 2019, the Model A is an electrical vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) vehicle with the ability to transition seamlessly from road to air. The FAA's recognition allows the company to test its product in the skies, making it the first vehicle of its kind to receive government approval in the U.S.

"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," Alef CEO Jim Dukhovny said in a statement. "This is a one small step for planes, one giant step for cars."

As more flying car prototypes seek to get off the ground (figuratively and literally), the FAA is tweaking its policies for VTOL vehicles and its rules around interactions between VTOLs and ground infrastructure. If all goes according to plan, production on Alef's two-person Model A is expected to begin in the fourth quarter of 2025, with deliveries planned for shortly after. Want to hop in? Be ready to fork over a cool $300,000.

Alef is also working on other products designed to be more accessible to the everyday driver. The Model Z, for example, is a four-person sedan slated to debut in 2035 with a modest starting price of $35,000. It even purportedly performs better in the air than on the road, with a flying range of over 300 miles and a driving range of over 220 miles, according to Electrek.

It's an exciting development, especially for a company that admits it was inspired by Marty McFly's iconic journey to the future. It looks like the "future" will be 2035 instead of 2015, but in any case, it's a relief to think that our days of being stuck in traffic could finally be numbered.