Is this REALLY the World’s First Flying Car?

Has Automologist MAC’s dream finally come true? Well…read on.

We have been writing about a proper flying car at Automology for some time. To put it simply, a flying car seems to capture our imagination in a way that no other mode of transport can. Now, out of Holland, comes the announcement that the PAL-V (Personal Air and Land Vehicle) will be ready for delivery by the end of 2018.

After many years of testing, the PAL-V aims to soar past its competitors and be first past the post in the modern era. The new owner will have to come equipped with both a driving license and a pilot’s license. But assuming that this is all in order, then the new owner will have a short take-off and then land, assumedly at his/her destination.

So, the first flying car is on the market, only it is not. Basically the PAL-V is just a gyrocopter with improved road manners for the time when it is on the ground. Sure, the PAL-V is a capable aircraft with a range of about 480 kilometres flying at about 3500 metres above sea level. On the road I guess you could call its performance reasonable, with an alleged top speed of 170 kilometres per hour coming from its two 100hp engines.

But the reality is the first mission of the PAL-V designers was to make a driveable gyrocopter, which they have achieved by making the rotor blades foldable, much like bat-wings, and thus giving the car a reasonable centre of gravity when it is on the road. They also incorporated technology from Carver to make the three-wheeled vehicle less susceptible to falling over when turning at speed on the ground.

So, if you want to be an early adopter of the first claimed air-going road-car – or was that road-going aircraft – you can place your order now and for a mere EUR499,000 you can be an owner of one of the first 50 or so vehicles that they plan to make in 2019. Even though there are a number of flying cars in development around the world, I cannot envision a crowded sky future at those prices.

I like the Jetsons’ one better…

Having wanted a flying car ever since I can remember, this particular effort does unfortunately leave me a little cold. I always pictured in my mind that the car would be a little more like the Jetsons than PAL-V is. Perhaps, though, technology has moved on without letting the good folks at Raamsdonksveer know. So much of the thinking behind a flying car was created when we needed a design that gains speed to overcome gravity, you know, like a conventional take-off in a plane. Nowadays, we are already experimenting with amazing drones that are capable of carrying people and can operate in a vertical take-off mode. Perhaps PAL-V has missed the boat then.

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