PAL-V leaves us wondering “why on earth hasn’t this been done before?” The Dutch-built flying car seems to provide the obvious solution for beating the traffic, soaring over mountains and, of course, getting you from superyacht to shore to supper – no helipad required. Expect this invention to, ahem, take off.
Moving from design concept in 2008 to maiden flight in 2012, the two-seater PAL-V (Personal Air and Land Vehicle) is a fast aerodynamic three-wheeler with the agility of a motorcycle on the ground and a safe steady gyrocopter in the air. In “car” mode, she is powered by a 160kw flight-certified petrol engine and accelerates from 0 to 62mph in under eight seconds before topping out at 112mph. A full tank will take PAL-V for 750 miles.
To reach “gyrocopter” mode, the engine must be stopped and then the tail is extended and rotor unfolded in a straightforward process that takes less than ten minutes. To get PAL-V airborne a makeshift airstrip of 165 metres or more is needed, although landing can happen safely on a third of that length – just 30 metres. Speed in the skies must be a minimum of 31mph for level flight with the same top speed of 112mph and a range of up to 315 miles. Designed to operate below 4,000ft, there will be no interference from commercial aircraft and in most countries you won’t need to file a flight plan before takeoff – nice and simple.
If launching a car into the air fills you with fear, the good news is that the rotor has a far slower rotation than a helicopter which not only makes it quieter, the vehicle’s also easier to control and cannot stall. Even if the engine fails, PAL-V can be steered and landed with ease as the rotor keeps on auto rotating. She complies with regulations for road and air use in all major markets and to learn to fly one takes only 20 to 30 hours of training.
PAL-V’s look is stylish and elegant without being extravagant and showy and first deliveries are expected in 2014. So what are you waiting for? Perhaps the chance to amass the 300,000 US dollars the creators believe it will cost to purchase. Although wait a decade or so and they reckon a flying car could be yours for as little as 40,000 US dollars… get in line.