After turning heads at last year's Geneva Motor Show with its production-ready flying car, Pal-V has returned for 2019 with a special edition that it says will actually be first out of the gate. The Pal-V Liberty Pioneer is based on the same flying car shown last year, but with a few extra trimmings to give its limited run of 90 an extra air of exclusivity.
Some fifteen years have passed since we first covered the Pal-V flying car, but fundamentally the design remain the same. Part-gyrocopter, part-car and part-motorbike, the two-seat tilting three-wheeler can reach a top speed of 160 km/h (100 mph) on the tarmac and be driven by anyone with a driver's license.
And with at least 330 m (1,000 ft) of runway it can lift off into the skies, following some pre-flight checks and a five-minute switchover process that involves pulling out the tail section and unfurling a pair of rotor blades. Operators will need a pilot's license to take off, and once airborne, the flying car can hit speeds of 180 km/h (112 mph) over a possible range of 500 km (310 mi), and only requires 30 m (98 ft) of runway to land.
"The gyroplane principle not only provides us with a very safe and easy to operate a flying car but it also enables us to make it compact and within existing regulations, which is the most important factor to build a useable flying car," says Mike Stekelenburg, Chief Engineer at Pal-V.
After showing off the standard version of its flying car last year, Pal-V has this year wheeled out the special edition Liberty Pioneer. Joris Wolters, Sales Officer at PAL-V, tells us this is distinguished from the run-of-the-mill standard version thanks to Pioneer logos, tailor-made leather interior, carbon materials and two-tone coloring, as well as some extra bells and whistles under the hood.
"The Pioneer is full-option, meaning, for example, dual control, carbon package and EFIS (Electronic Flight Information System)," he says.
Only 90 of the Liberty Pioneers will be built, and the company expects to start deliveries of that version first in 2020, ahead of the standard version.
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