Marking the start of a new era, the flying car represents the future of transportation.
Imagine being able to leave home, get in your flying car, and fly-drive to work. No more traffic jams or winding mountain roads. Simply fly over obstacles like a bird, before hitting the open highway and driving to your final destination. This may seem like a fantasy, but a team of Dutch entrepreneurs believe they are getting extremely close to making it a reality. Since finalizing the design concept of the PAL-V (Personal Air and Land Vehicle) in 2008, top engineers at Dutch company PAL-V Europe NV have been hard at work on a flying-driving prototype.
Over the past couple of weeks test flights were finally concluded and the company is now looking to investors to join them in readying a commercial production model.
The patented vehicle flies in the air like a gyrocopter, with lift generated by an auto-rotating rotor and forward speed produced by a foldable push propeller on the rear. When in land mode it drives on the road like a sports car. On top of that, it complies with the existing regulations of all major markets, making it both road and air legal. Robert Dingemanse, CEO and co-founder of PAL-V commented: "Prior to announcing these test flights, we were already approached on a daily basis by potential customers and dealers wanting to be part of this exciting project."
Flying range is between 220 and 315 miles, depending on type, pay load and wind conditions. When driving it has a 750-mile range and can reach speeds of up to 110mph both on land and in the air. It runs on gas, while future versions will be able to use biodiesel or bio-ethanol. On the ground its aerodynamic 3-wheeled vehicle accelerates like a sports car and drives through the curves like a motorcycle thanks to a patented cutting-edge 'tilting' system. As a flying machine it's very easy to control, takes off and lands at low speed and cannot stall. A license should be obtainable after 30 hours of training.
A strip of 165 meters, either paved or grass, is all that's needed for take-off and thanks to its landing capability, a PAL-V can be landed practically anywhere. Governments are already gearing up for increased air traffic because of vehicles like the PAL-V. In fact, in the US and Europe development programs are looking at the possibility of 'digital freeways' that would provide a safe corridor using GPS. First deliveries are expected in 2014, when for some traffic jams will suddenly become a thing of the past.