PAL-V, a Dutch company, focused on making the first production flying car, has apparently achieved its objective with the PAL-V Liberty. The hybrid vehicle is a gyrocopter adapted for road driving with a starting price of $399,000.
The firm has been working on the aircraft for over 15 years. Their commercial focus has led them to develop the Liberty with widespread adoption in mind, so they have made it fit to meet both automotive and aviation regulatory standards in Europe and the U.S.
The world’s first “flying car” arrives as interest rises among companies like Uber and Airbus to develop such technology. Dubai took the latest big step towards this goal on Monday, announcing drone taxis deploying this summer in the city.
The PAL-V is not a flying car, but it is close enough
PAL-V is marketing the Liberty as “the world’s first certified commercial car,” but only part of that statement is correct. Law organs certify it, and it is commercially available, but it is not a flying car.
The company takes advantage of the fact that what constitutes a flying car is not as clear as it could be given that such vehicles don’t exist yet. Still, it is the closest there is, and a step in the right direction to define the category more clearly.
PAL-V Liberty models are neither a car nor an aircraft, but it can perform both functions. What’s more, it draws power from two separate Rotax engines commonly used in small airplanes.
One engine is for road driving, with 99 horsepower and top speeds of 100 mph. The second one packs nearly double the punch at 197 horsepower and 112 mph while on the air as high as 11,000 feet. Both of them work fine with regular gas.
The aircraft needs a runway of at least 600 feet to take off, but it can land in a much shorter strip. The PAL-V adapts to both roads and grass if it needs to, and it meets FAA and EASA regulations.
Price and release date
Two models of the PAL-V Liberty are available: the Liberty Sport and the Liberty Pioneer Edition. Aspiring owners will need both a driver’s and a pilot’s license to operate the aircraft.
The Option To Purchase (OTP) deposit for the Liberty Sport is $10,000, while the actual price of the vehicle is $399,000. Add-ons like dual controls and power heating are available, but will also increase costs.
There will only be 90 Liberty Pioneer Edition hybrids made, so reservation fees go all the way up to $25,000. Expected prices rise too, at $599,000 with all options included but open to more customization.
High-end models start shipping by the end of 2018, while the standard PAL-V Liberty flying cars will land more than two years from now.