Business & Real Estate

Flying cars? New Los Altos business looking to make it a reality

ASKA
Courtesy of ASKA
Guy and Maki Kaplinsky, co-founders of ASKA, recently opened a showroom in downtown Los Altos.

In the near future, Los Altos residents may be able travel from their hometown to Half Moon Bay in 20 minutes, or reach Lake Tahoe in an hour.

Such scenarios are real-life possibilities for ASKA, the new flying-car company that recently opened a showroom in downtown Los Altos. ASKA is being billed as the first electric vertical takeoff and landing vehicle designed for consumers.

Led by co-founders Guy and Maki Kaplinsky, the company is taking preorders for ASKAs, vehicles that can travel both on the road and in the air. They lift off vertically in 65-foot-by-65-foot “vertipad” launch spaces and fly up to 250 miles at speeds up to 150 mph. But they also function as regular road vehicles.

Current models seat four passengers with a 600-pound capacity. Interested buyers can view a smaller-scale model of the vehicle on display at ASKA’s 400 Main St. location. The business celebrated its official opening with a Los Altos Chamber of Commerce ribbon-cutting ceremony Friday.

“To build a better society and a better economy, we need better transportation solutions, and flying cars will be a part of that equation,” said COO Maki Kaplinsky.

CEO Guy Kaplinsky added that ASKA anticipates that “flying cars that are accessible to the general public will be as instrumental in redefining how and where we live as the original automobile was to the foundation of our country’s highway and road systems.”

ASKA is powered by electric motors and is equipped with a range extender as a safety system.

The Kaplinskys’ goal is ASKA delivery in 2026, pending standard regulatory approval and certification.

Idea takes flight

The Kaplinskys, Los Altos residents, found the city the ideal place to set up shop, hoping to appeal to families – and their imaginations.

Their showroom includes an area that features the various trial-and-error stages that led to developing the current model – and proof that multiple failures are necessary for success. The husband-and-wife duo see their showroom also functioning as a learning center touting urban air mobility.

“No need to travel to a special air terminal or wait in line with other travelers,” says a sleek ASKA brochure. “Transition to a smooth, swift flight to your destination. … Enjoy the city and then quickly and safely travel to the countryside in your own private vehicle. Green- space, high-quality living and your home await you.”

As it’s currently designed, ASKA can be driven like any road vehicle. The vehicle will have semi-autonomous technologies, but pilot training will still be needed to operate ASKA in the air. About the size of an SUV, it can be parked in a standard parking lot or garage.

According to an April 15 press release, the Federal Aviation Administration and European Union Aviation Safety Agency have moved ahead to certify street-legal conventional aircraft. ASKA’s development and flight testing are being conducted in accordance with FAA and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration guidelines for certification.

ASKA’s full-scale flight demonstrations are scheduled to take place in 2022, and the company is part of NASA’s Advanced Air Mobility National Campaign, along with Boeing, Bell and others; ASKA is the only consumer-oriented company in the group.

The Kaplinskys, described as “serial entrepreneurs,” founded ASKA in 2018 to focus on air mobility transportation solutions. Their team includes aerospace engineers, automotive engineers, aerodynamics experts and flight control experts.

The Kaplinskys are inviting people to join the ASKA Founders Club, described as a “global community of people who share our passion for travel in the third dimension.”

Customers placing preorders also will be granted one option of share equity if eligibility requirements are met to comply with securities laws. VIP services included in pricing are pilot license training, customized interior/exterior design and personalized license plate.

ASKA is now available for preorder at approximately $750,000. Interested buyers can register at ASKA’s website to start the sales process and to place a $5,000 deposit to secure their place on the preorder list. The deposit will be held in an escrow account and is refundable.

For more information, stop by the Los Altos showroom 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays, or visit askafly.com.

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