The world’s first production-model flying car is now a reality. Netherlands-based company Pal-V has begun taking orders for two versions of its three-wheeled car that converts into a two-seat gyroplane: avid buyers can choose between the fully loaded Liberty Pioneer Edition (£480,000) and the base model Liberty Sport (£320,000). FAA certification for its vehicle is still pending and as soon as they receive it – deliveries can begin.
Only 90 examples of the Liberty Pioneer Edition will be built, highlighting its rarity and collectability in the long term. Both models will have a maximum speed of 100 mph in driving mode and will be capable of acceleration from zero-to-60-mph time of less than nine seconds. In flying mode, they will have a high cruising speed of 100mph and a range of 248 miles with two passengers aboard and 310 miles with just a pilot. Pal-V recommends using a runway – paved or level grass – of at least 900ft for a smooth take-off and a 100ft strip for landing.
The blades are bundled on the roof when the vehicle is in drive mode, and can be unfolded to convert the Liberty into a gyroplane in about 10 minutes. The blades are not powered by a motor, as helicopter blades are, but by the wind and continue to rotate as long as there is airflow. This gives the vehicle a level of stability.
To operate the Liberty drivers will require a standard driver’s license and a gyroplane license. The latter requires 40-45 hours of training. For an additional £20,000 buyers get a Liberty includes flying lessons at the Pal-V FlyDrive Academy, the company’s flying school in Utah.