IS IT A BIRD? IS IT A PLANE? NO, IT’S A FLYING CAR
It's 50 years since The Jetsons first predicted we'd be flying the family about in airborne cars. Now experts say we are tantalisingly close to the dream becoming reality.
They have voted the Pal-V One Helicycle, a two-seat hybrid car and gyrocopter, the “most likely to become a reality”.
Maxim magazine selected PAL-V as the most likely company to deliver a “real” flying car.
“Clearly it is impressive that a magazine with a readership of close to 9 million people would recognise the work we have done to create a flying car that actually conforms to existing regulations and is safe to fly,' said Robert Dingemanse, the firm's CEO.
He promises “significant updates” in the next several months as the firm begins manufacturing of the PAL-V Limited Edition model.
The firm says it is “very advanced” in certifying the product in Europe under EASA CS 27 regulations.
Once finalised this will allow it to certify under FAR 27 regulations on this side of the Atlantic.
On the ground the vehicle drives like a sports car. In minutes its rotor is unfolded and its tail extended ready to take off.
The firm says its design is “the ultimate vehicle to go wherever and whenever you want to, easily overcoming all sorts of barriers.
“Now you can leave home and fly-drive to almost any destination! Avoid traffic jams and cross lakes, fiords, rivers or mountain ranges like an eagle.
“Land on the other side and drive in your own vehicle to your final destination.”
PAL-V will make just 90 of its vehicles, 25 of which have been allocated to North America.
The firm has already flown its design several times.
“When you have a prestigious brand like Top Gear referring to our vehicle as the world’s first plausible flying car and now Maxim men’s magazine giving us a thumbs-up for the world’s first real flying car, it means a lot,” said the firm’s vice-president of sales in North America, Mark Jennings-Bates.
“We have recently started talking to buyers and have the first contracts in place and a lot of interest.
“We anticipate deliveries of a certified PAL-V in North America to happen in 2018.
“On the ground the vehicle drives like a sports car,” says PAL-V. “Within minutes its rotor is unfolded and its tail is extended: then it is ready to take off thanks to the advanced gyrocopter technology.
“With these successful test results it is proven that it is not only possible to build a flying car but also that it can be done within existing international rules for both flying and driving.”
The Pal-V One features a 230hp, four-cylinder engine powered by petrol.
Its 102-litre tank means pilots can fly for up to 350km at low altitude — around 1200m — or drive for up 1200km.
It is made of carbon fibre, titanium, and aluminum and weighs almost 700kg.