Flying sports car that morphs into helicopter goes on sale
Image credit: PAL-V
A sports car that morphs into a helicopter has gone on sale today, with the first customer deliveries expected in early 2018.
The Liberty Pioneer and Liberty Sport by Dutch company PAL-V are the first fully certified flying cars (or roadable airplanes) to reach market readiness.
Liberty Pioneer will be a limited edition of only 90 vehicles selling at €499,000 (£424,000) excluding taxes. It will be followed by the standard Liberty Sport, selling for €299,000.
“After years of hard work, beating the technical and qualification challenges, our team succeeded in creating an innovative flying car that complies with existing safety standards determined by regulatory bodies around the world," said Robert Dingemanse, CEO of PAL-V.
The luxury Italian-designed flying car is a tilting three-wheeler, which the creators say enhances the car’s ability to sit firmly on the road, even when performing sharp turns.
In the driving configuration, the car’s rotor is folded unobtrusively on the roof and the tail is stored inside the body. Even though it looks like a helicopter at first glance, the flying car is what the makers describe as a gyroplane – a flying vehicle with a rotor that doesn’t require a source of power as it rotates solely using the energy of the surrounding moving air. The rotor blades create lift similar to a parachute or the wings of a fixed-wing aircraft. The flying car therefore cannot take off vertically like a true helicopter from a still position.
“Later in 2017 we will start building a pre-production series followed by the manufacturing of the first PAL-V Libertys for our early ‘pioneer’ clients. Deliveries of road and air-certificated models are scheduled by the end of 2018," said Dingemanse.
The firm has been developing the vehicle since 2001 and successfully tested the concept in 2009 and 2012. Last year, the car was unveiled in front of a selected group of potential clients.
“We are very pleased with the response so far. Now that the new design is public I expect to see great interest from customers that have waited for the flying car era to start,” said PAL-V’s Chief Marketing and Sales Officer Markus Hess.
The firm says the vehicle has been designed to be very safe and easy to operate, in order to minimise the risk of potentially deadly human errors. It switches from driving to flying mode within three to five minutes.
The firm believes the vehicle will not only allow its users to beat the omnipresent traffic jams, but will also do away with a dependence on road infrastructure altogether, thus opening up new possibilities when it comes to holiday destinations or even the location of homes or company bases.