California company receives FAA certification for flying car

For decades, futurists have dreamed of flying cars, with little real-world progress. Now, one company has gotten a step closer to making that vision a reality, receiving government approval to test-fly its sports car.

Alef, a California-based aeronautics company, recently announced it received a Special Airworthiness Certification from the Federal Aviation Administration, allowing it it to fly the car in limited locations.

The company’s Armada Model Zero aircraft received the certification on June 12, the FAA told CBS MoneyWatch. “This certificate allows the aircraft to be used for limited purposes, including exhibition, research and development. This is not the first aircraft of its kind for which the FAA has issued a Special Airworthiness Certificate,” the agency said in a statement.

Alef’s founders started working on the project in 2015, the year named in the classic sci-fi film “Back to the Future II” — which features flying cars — and unveiled a prototype late last year. Its first vehicle, dubbed the Model A, is a street-legal car that can ride on roads and park in a standard parking space. 

It can also take off vertically and fly through the air in any direction, the company said. The vehicle has a flying range of 110 miles, and a driving range of 200, according to Alef.

Receiving FAA certification “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.

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Alef’s Model A in flight in a handout photo.

Alef


The all-electric ride is priced at $300,000, with a more expensive hydrogen option offering a longer range. It holds one or two people, according to the company. 

Sleek and gray, and resembling a sports car, the vehicle boasts hidden propellers and a gimbaled driving cabin to stabilize the driver and passenger.

According to its website, the company aims to create “the fastest and most convenient transport ever created from the point of origin to the final destination,” calling its product “the solution to the issues of modern congestion.”

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Alef’s Model A flying car.

Alef


The company in January said it received 440 preorders for the $300,000 vehicle, which is set to start production and delivery in late 2025.

Alef is also working on a four-person sedan, which the company promises to release in 2035.

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