No Go for Test Drive of Flying Car

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Entrepreneur Development Minister Mohd Redzuan Md Yusof’s test drive of a flying car on Thursday does not have the green light from the Civil Aviation Authority of Malaysia (CAAM).

CAAM yesterday said it has not authorised a test flight of the UAS (Unmanned Aircraft System) E-Hang 216 (EH216), which would have taken place at the UNIKL MIAT Hangar Subang.

“The location of the test flight…is less than 200m away from commercial airline and helicopter traffic and clearly within the Subang Airport Terminal Control Zone that is under strict supervision by air traffic control,” it said in a statement.

CAAM also said the EH216 only had a special flight permit issued by the Civil Aviation Administration of China, which limits the vehicle to research and development flights at the Grand World Science Park in Guangzhou.

“As much as CAAM supports the development of the aerospace industry in Malaysia, test and demonstration flights must be carried out in accordance with the Malaysian Civil Aviation Regulation 2016 (MCAR 2016) to ensure safety.”

The authority said it is open to considering a request for a test flight at an appropriate location.

According to CAAM, an unauthorised demonstration flight involving the same EH216 vehicle, had been carried out on November 15 at the same area within Subang Airport, and this is currently under investigation.

The test flight for the flying car was announced by Redzuan on Tuesday. He had also invited MPs for the test but said it would not be open to media coverage or for public viewing.

Yesterday, Redzuan was put on the defensive during Question Time today when Opposition lawmakers besieged him over the “flying car” issue after it was dismissed as a drone by the Transport Minister Anthony Loke the day earlier.

Redzuan was in the midst of replying a question from Sibu MP (PH) Oscar Ling on a separate matter before BN and PAS MPs began heckling him over the “flying car”.

“This is the attitude of leaders who want to deny something from the youths.

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“I am happy to say that today the government has started a programme to train our youths on using drones…unmanned carrier vehicles or whatever you want to call it, whatever narrative you want to bring, drone, flying car, vector, unmanned aerial vehicle…” said Redzuan who was trying to defend himself while smiling.

However, he was interrupted by Pasir Salak (BN) MP Datuk Seri Tajuddin Abdul Rahman who dismissed the drone as a product from China that sees local youths merely slapping the vehicle together.

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Lenggong (BN) MP Datuk Shamsul Anuar Nasarah advised the minister to stop speaking as the more he tried to defend the “flying car”, the more he became a laughingstock.

“Minister, the more you speak, the more Malaysians are laughing at you,” said Shamsul.

Speaker Tan Sri Mohamad Ariff Md Yusof then intervened and asked the sceptical Opposition lawmakers to take up Redzuan’s invitation and tag along with him to test the flying car on Thursday.

Baling (BN) MP Datuk Seri Abdul Azeez Abdul Rahim then interjected to tell Redzuan that he should bring Loke along.

Tajuddin then asked Redzuan whether or not the government had injected US$30 million (RM120 million) into the flying car project.

“No, zero,” said Redzuan.

Paya Besar (BN) MP Mohd Shahar Abdullah then pointed out that he believes Redzuan was being sabotaged by his DAP colleagues.

“I don’t see it like that. I think I will have to hold a class for anyone who doesn’t understand air mobility,” said Redzuan.

Yesterday, Loke told Parliament that the “flying car” being promoted by Redzuan is a drone and, therefore, needs to get the go-ahead from the Civil Aviation Authority of Malaysia (CAAM).

It was also reported that the flying car was a joint venture between two Chinese firms and Malaysian company EastCap Bhd, which is helmed by Zakwanhafiz Ahmad Ansari, an entrepreneur also involved in the plantation industry. The two Chinese firms are EHang Intelligent Equipment (Guangzhou) Co Ltd and Strong Rich Holdings Ltd.

The flying car was a ‘Super Dron’, which has been used in Indonesia for plantation mapping and as a crop sprayer in the plantation industry.