The quest to become the world's first commercially available flying car is one that will go down to the wire when legal, safety and regulatory hurdles have been overcome and the first owner settles into the seat. Understandably, the contest is fierce with several flying cars appearing at motorshows of recent times, but the big draw card at Geneva for flying cars was the final production version of the PAL-V.
The Pal-V Liberty is claimed to be the world's first production-ready flying car and the company says it is working on the final certification process for the tilting, two-seat, three-wheel gyrocopter to become legal for flight.
The specs are apparently now set in concrete (titanium?), and there's a premium for the limited-edition US$600,000 PAL-V Pioneer and the subsequent $400,000 Liberty Sport edition.
There will only be 90 Pioneer editions made, and $25,000 non-refundable deposits are now being taken for a spot on the build schedule, with an option call some nine months prior to delivery.
Similarly, the deposit for the Liberty Sport edition is non-refundable but comes in at $10,000.
Driving the PAL-V will simply be a matter of having a drivers license, but if you wish to fly the vehicle, you'll need a full pilot's license and the cost of obtaining said license is apparently part of the price tag. We're unsure whether existing pilots will get a discount, because they are surely the initial target market.
Pilots understand the safety issues of aircraft already, and they'll be more than happy to undergo the manual transformation of the Liberty from road to flight mode, which involves between five and 10 minutes of labor and checks.
Once airworthy, the two-seat PAL-V Liberty will have a Maximum Take-Off Weight (MTOW) of 910 kg, and baggage and fuel capacities (max 100 liters) will be dependent on the weight of the passengers.
The maximum operating altitude is 3,500 m, a range of 500 km and a top speed of 180 km/h. The Liberty requires 330 meters of take-off distance and a landing roll distance of 30 meters.
In road mode, the PAL-V Liberty is a tilting three wheeler that looks like a lot of fun. Originally derived from a tilting roadster three wheeler, its 99 hp engine is good for a top-seed of 160 km/h.
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