In recent years only two manufacturers, Aeromobil and Terrafugia, presented concepts close to reality, which tend to defy the laws of physics and combine cars with planes. Finally, these concepts require more tests and years to be launched in city streets and airspace.
Perhaps the best idea would be a combination of car and ultralight helicopter, which will reduce the need of wings, plus facilitate the construction and method of takeoff and landing. However, a helicopter is difficult to control and in case the engine fails, it will inevitably fall.
A better idea is proposed by the Dutch company PAL-V. After years of tests, the Dutch created a gyrocopter called PAL-V Liberty, which can be driven on the public roads too due to the convertible construction.
According to the Dutch, this concept is safer and more practical than other concepts of flying vehicles with fixed wing, which have problems with turbulence and takeoff and landing locations. However, the gyrocopter too needs some space to take off – at least 90 meters in length and 20 meters in width.
Even though it resembles a helicopter, the gyrocopter takes off almost identical to an aircraft, although it requires less space. A gyrocopter (also called gyroplane) has two propellers, small one in back, which propels forward, and another large one above, like a helicopter, but it is not rotated by the engine, but by air! Therefore, if the engine fails, the large propeller continues to rotate, and the pilot will be able to hover up to 5 kilometers and safely land! This would be impossible with a helicopter.
PAL-V Liberty, can be transformed from a gyrocopter to a car or vehicle on three wheels, only in 5-10 minutes, the propellers being pliable just like the stabilizing tail. The chassis is lowered and as a result PAL-V Liberty turns into a very compact vehicle, comparable with a Volkswagen Golf, with a length of around 4 meters!
Engineers have incorporated technology not only from the world of aeronautics and the automotive world, but also from motorcycles. The PAL-V can be considered a “trike”, which is able to tilt into curves like a motorcycle (an identical principle used by the Carver One vehicle), offering a special pleasure from driving! According to the Dutch, PAL-V Liberty is very easy to drive and is equipped with many safety systems, which stabilize the vehicle in flight or avoid collisions with other aircraft in flight.
And now, the most important novelty: the PAL-V Liberty can already be ordered! Its production will commence in late 2017 and the first copies will reach customers by the end of 2018. The vehicle will be built in Holland and the primary market for this will be in North America.
The first 90PAL-V Liberty copies, Pioneer Edition will cost 599,000 dollars, while the next simpler versions, Liberty Sport, will be priced at 399,000 dollars. To steer this vehicle, the driver must have a driving and pilot license.