When was the last time you hear of cars that fly? Surely in movies or cartoons. Up until a few years ago, a real flying car was a mere fantasy. We say until, because now, things have changed and finally, the first flying car is here! Don’t believe us? See what the Dutch company Pal-V has to say.
Each time you hear of the idea of flying car, thoughts go back to the Jetsons or Back to the Future. Its ironic, how we get nostalgic and remember our childhood when we think of flying cars! Are flying cars only a fantasy though? Well, the Dutch company Pal-V doesn’t seem to think so.
Presenting to you, Pla-V liberty. The first flying car that is actually in production. This car has already been certified to fly in Europe and USA and requires a pilot’s license. The car looks like a cross breed between a helicopter and a tricycled car. Its two 100 bhp engines give it the power to reach speeds of about 170 kmph on the road and about 180 kpmh in the air. On the road, the car is estimated to go from zero to sixty in about 9 seconds.
The Pal-V is made from materials like carbon-fiber, titanium, and aluminum, and can reach heights of about 4,000 feet during flight. The materials help to keep the car light as this is essential for flying. Additionally, before you can buy the car, make sure you have a runway to take off and land it in. That’s right, those are the rules. You will need at least a 165-meter runway for takeoff and around 30-meters to land the car.
The rotors above the car look like helicopter rotors but do not work the same way. The designers decided to harness wind energy to move the rotors and help keep the car up in the air. But, what if there is no wind? The propellers at the end of the car work to push the car forward. When the car moves forward, air is introduced, and that moves the rotors above it.
Due to the car being three-wheeled, it may become hard to take turns or bank with the car on road. Hence, Pal-V came up with the ingenious plan of installing a tilting system to the car that helps it take better turns at corners. At the push of a button, the rotors fold up and blend into the frame of the car, giving it an exotic feel. According to its creators, this switch from flight mode to road mode or vice versa usually takes about 5 min.
Here’s a detailed look at the characteristics:
- Vehicle type: Roadable aircraft
- First flight: In March 2012
- Engine: 160 kW flight certified gasoline
- Propellers: 2 bladed
- Top speed: 180 kmph
- Weight: 910 kg (gross)/ 680 kg (empty)
- Dimensions: 4m x 1.6m x 1.6m (L X B X H)
- Materials: carbon-fiber, titanium, and aluminum
- Runway length required for take off: 165 meter
- Flight heights: 4000 feet
- Time to switch between flight and drive mode: 5 minutes
- Range: 354-507 km in flight, 1210 km on road
- Cost: $600,000 for the Pal-V Liberty Pioneer Edition, $300,000-$400,000 for Pal-V Liberty Sport
The car’s interiors are full leather and according to its official website, it states that the makers use state of the art, and proven effective technology in PAL-V Liberty. The companu has partnered with leading manufacturers of the aviation industry “to guarantee quality at aviation standards.” This shows that safety of the driver comes first with Pal-V and that is surely ressuring and confidence-building for prospective buyers. Additionally, to aid driving during flight, the designers have also installed a self-stabilizer.
The cost of the Pal-V is about $600,000 which is a hit to the pocket; however, the company is also manufacturing the Pal-V Liberty Sport and this is expected to be a lot more ‘affordable’. The Pal-V Liberty Sport is expected to be priced at about $400,000.
The Pal-V Liberty was the show stealer at 2018 Geneva International Motor Show in March and it is targeting to go into production in 2019.
What WIll You Get When You Buy PAL-V Liberty?
PAL-V is a unique vehicle, indeed. Because it’s a whole new category, it also appeals to a very specific and unique category of buyers. Particularly for this with interests in aviation, PAL-V offers a practical, affordable, and multi-dimensional solution. The heli-car is easily the most affordable personal aircraft option in the market (assuming you’re licensed to fly). Also, it addresses two major concerns: firstly, buyers don’t need anything more than a basic garage to store the flying car. Secondly, they can use the road as a runway. Of course, for routine road travel, the PAL-V doubles up as a compact car.
Pal-V may be the first one to create a flying car but it will by no means be the last. This is only the first step to a future of dreams. No one in the early nineties would have dreamt of this and yet, it has happened. Now all that remains is to see where the automobile industry goes from here. Judging by what we’re seeing, we might as well call it the “airmobile” industry.