Aircraft

PAL-V flying three-wheeler being prepped for take off

PAL-V is now taking reservations for its Liberty three wheel gyrocopter
PAL-V is now taking reservations for its Liberty three wheel gyrocopter
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PAL-V is now taking reservations for its Liberty three wheel gyrocopter
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PAL-V is now taking reservations for its Liberty three wheel gyrocopter
The PAL-V Liberty has tilting two person cockpit for leaning into the curves of the road
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The PAL-V Liberty has tilting two person cockpit for leaning into the curves of the road
The Liberty's 200 HP flying mode engine gives a maximum speed of 180 km/h
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The Liberty's 200 HP flying mode engine gives a maximum speed of 180 km/h
In drive mode, the PAL-V Liberty is just 5.4 ft in height
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In drive mode, the PAL-V Liberty is just 5.4 ft in height
The PAL-V Liberty can be switched from drive mode to flight mode in as little as 5 minutes
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The PAL-V Liberty can be switched from drive mode to flight mode in as little as 5 minutes

Dutch flying car developer PAL-V is aiming to make good on its promise to be first to market. Following successful test flights and concerted efforts to meet European and US road and aviation standards, the company has announced that its taking reservations for its dual-engined Liberty three-wheel gyrocopter.

"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, in a press statement.

The PAL-V Liberty features a Rotax engine-based dual propulsion drivetrain – one engine for driving and another for flying – and has been designed to be about the same size as a "regular car," with the benefit of lowered suspension and tilting two person cockpit for leaning into the curves of the road.

The PAL-V Liberty has tilting two person cockpit for leaning into the curves of the road
The PAL-V Liberty has tilting two person cockpit for leaning into the curves of the road

In drive mode, the propeller is hidden away inside the vehicle's body while the blades are kept up top in roof box-like storage. PAL-V gives the Liberty's 100 HP drive mode engine a top speed as 160 km/h (100 mph), with a sprint up to 100 km/h (62 mph) taking 9 seconds. Fuel economy is rated at 7.6 l/100 km (31 mpg) and the driving range given as 1,315 km (817 miles).

When the time comes to take to the skies, the rotor mast unfolds automatically, but the driver/pilot will need to pull out the tail section and unfold the two rotor blades and break out the prop to prepare for flight. The mode switch process is reported to take between 5 and 10 minutes. After a brief pre-flight check, the pilot can head skyward to a maximum altitude of 3,500 m (11,480 ft).

In the air, the Liberty's 200 HP flying mode engine is reported to be about as loud as a small fixed-wing airplane and gives a maximum speed of 180 km/h (112 mph), an economic cruise speed of 140 km/h (87 mph) or a high cruise speed of 160 km/h, the latter sacrificing 10 percent of its range. That range could extend to up to 500 km (310 miles), though pilots may need to top up its 100 l (26.4 gal) fuel tank on landing. Once the vehicle touches down, the tail can be pushed back and the rotors and prop folded away for driving mode.

The Liberty's 200 HP flying mode engine gives a maximum speed of 180 km/h
The Liberty's 200 HP flying mode engine gives a maximum speed of 180 km/h

The Liberty is 4 m (13.1 ft) long and 1.7 m (5.4 ft) high in drive mode, extending to 6.1 m (13.1 ft) x 3.2 m (10.5 ft) for flight. The vehicle is 2 m (6.6 ft) wide regardless of mode, and the unfolded rotor diameter is 10.75 m (35.3 ft). It has an empty weight of 664 kg (1,413 lb).

As is common these days, the company has also developed a mobile app that compares travel using a PAL-V vehicle with more conventional modes of transport and will let users know what time savings have been made, as well as determining how many stops will be needed for long journeys and making travel recommendations.

The are two versions of the Liberty on offer. Pioneer Edition buyers will be able to personalize interior and exterior finishes and be the first to receive their vehicles. This flavor is priced at €499,000/US$599,000. The standard Sport model costs less, at €299,000/$399,000, but buyers will have to wait a little longer for delivery.

PAL-V is taking reservations for the Liberty now and expects to start making preproduction units later this year, with road and air-certified models set for delivery to customers by the end of 2018.

A driving license and a pilot's license will be needed to use the vehicle, and current regulations do not allow for take-off and landing just anywhere. The company says that "the PAL-V needs a space for take-off measuring about 90-200 by 20 meters (100-650 x 60 ft) without surrounding obstacles. In practice all small airstrips, aerodromes, glider sites and/or ultralight airfields will suffice. The PAL-V Liberty can operate from either concrete or grass airstrips. As the PAL-V popularity increases, it is expected that more and more small uncontrolled airstrips will be created. Many countries also allow for special permits on private property."

You can see a short teaser video below.

Source: PAL-V

PAL-V Launches the PAL-V Liberty

6 comments
Lardo
Single wheel up front. ('cause any idiot knows that's more stable.) Foldable blades. (So that you can take off after forgetting to lock them in place.) And 2 engines. (Apparently to added excess weight. Always good in a flying machine.) And all this for a measly $600,000. You bet. Count me in.... NOT!
frogola
do you really want to drive something down some ruff road for hundreds of miles then fly it.
Skyler Thomas
Lardo, two wheels in back is more stable for landing. I'm wondering why they didn't go for one ICE and use that to power an electric motor instead of having a hefty 2 ICE's. Uninspiring flight performance.
MD
Rotax engine used for flight because it is certified for Light Sport Use, but not suited to driving duty... I don't know about other Countries, but in Australia, you are already allowed to land an aircraft at any unregistered place as long as minimum landing size and permission (from the landowner) is obtained. There is no need to have a "registered airfield" except for convenience.
Grunchy
As is usual with such designs the trade-offs make it simultaneously a poor car and a poor gyrocopter. On the other hand, this could be the very thing for the guy with specific needs and big wallet. But those people are extremely rare. Next problem is to talk those rare people into risking their neck & savings on this thing. "As popularity increases," well, I sort of doubt it. For most people they are better off just renting an airplane if & when they need one. The poor people who have the time & interest to pursue this don't have the cash, the rich people who have the cash usually don't have the time nor the interest.
RMinNM
I read all the way through their website. The mention two engines for flight, and 200HP. I think they may have 2 Rotax engines geared to the prop for flying, and one of them providing 100HP power for the road (not sure if there's a mechanical transmission or if there's a generator driving electric motors. They have actual footage of this flying and driving, and it looks like the best road vehicle of any flying car, with a car-like 4 meter overall length, very narrow width, and reasonable ground clearance. 3 wheels and the suspension tilts into corners is a system used by some other vehicles. Having it be a 3-wheeler makes it possible to meet road safety standards much more easily, as it's treated as a motorcycle in the US and EU. With an empty weight of 660kg (1400lb) and gyrocopter operation it has demonstrated take-off in 180m and a maximum flight speed of 180kph (110mph). This looks like a better shot to actually hit production than anything else I've seen in the 'flying car' field.
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