With so much publicity and focus on driverless cars and other vehicles recently, we seem to have forgotten about another longstanding science-fiction fantasy vehicle – the flying car. Well, that’s about to change as Dutch company PAL-V prepares to debut the PAL-V Liberty, which it claims is the world’s first road-legal flying car, at the upcoming 2018 Geneva Motor Show.
The manufacturer claims the Liberty is fully compliant with current vehicle legislation, that it represents a “pivotal time in aviation and mobility history,” and that the first customers will take delivery of their vehicles sometime next year. However it hasn’t been made clear which country’s existing regulations it complies with.
As with many regular cars, the PAL-V flying car will launch with a special edition, the Liberty Pioneer Edition, which will be priced from US$599,000 (S$788,000), before taxes, and available from the company’s website. Included in the not-inconsiderable asking price will be a number of flight instruction sessions, power heating, and some personalisation options.
But if you’re sitting around thinking you’ll wait until the price comes down you might want to think again, and that’s because the company is only planning to produce 90 of them. Half of the 90 will be sold to European buyers, but once the Liberty Pioneer Edition is sold out PAL-V will then start delivering the Liberty Sport model. That model will look like a relative bargain in comparison to the Pioneer Edition as it will be priced from US$399,000 (S$525,000).
The Liberty Sport won’t offer the same level of personalisation as the Pioneer Edition, but it will still come with those very useful flying lessons, and other cost options available will include the likes of power heating and carbon-fiber trim and detailing.
Converting from road driving to flying mode takes somewhere between five and ten minutes, but while the rotor mast unfolds automatically it’s up to the driver to pull out the tail section, unfold the rotor blades, and expose the propeller to make the vehicle fully ready for flight.
And of course, you’ll also need a license to be able to fly the PAL-V Liberty, and you won’t just be able to take off and land anywhere that takes your fancy. So, you’ll need to know where appropriate small airstrips, aerodromes, glider sites and ultralight airfields are located.
Once you are in the air, the top speed is 112 mph, the maximum altitude is 3,500m, and the range is estimated at 310 miles. On the ground, the top speed is 100 mph, the fuel economy is said to be around 31 mpg, and the range is an impressive 817 miles.