The world has a weird dream for a very long time – to have a flying car. It would be so cool to just fly above all traffic jams and inattentive pedestrians and then just drive the same vehicle to the store. There were numerous prototypes in history, but finally we reached the point – one company in Netherlands is starting sales of world‘s first road and air-legal flying car with first customer deliveries slated for the end of 2018.
There were many attempts to build such a car-plane hybrid, but none of them reached actual commercial success. All of them remained just concepts. It is obvious that the task is not easy – vehicle has to work well as a car and as a plane, while complying with all regulations. PAL-V from Netherlands think they actually nailed it and are starting sales of their Liberty flying car. First inaugural edition will cost from €499,000 (without taxes), but later prices will drop to €299,000. But how is it like a car and as a plane?
At first, it is important to note that lessons to learn how to fly the Liberty are included into the price. Manufacturer says that it is easy to learn as the aircraft does not take a lot of skill to be controlled. There is one engine for driving and one for flying. The later one powers a propeller at the back of the vehicle, which pushes it, while unpowered large rotor on top provides lift. Manufacturer claims that it is easy to fly in bad conditions too but a space of around 90-200 by 200 metres without obstacles is needed for taking off. In flight it should be quieter than a helicopter and pretty comfortable. It can fly as far as 500 km, reach speeds of up to 182 kph and climb to altitude of 3.5 km. To convert the vehicle from a plane to a car (or vice versa) takes 5-10 minutes.
As a car it is quite interesting as well. It is not designed to be luxurious and so it expected to be quite loud. It normal drive engine has 99 bhp, which is enough to propel the three wheeled Liberty to 100 kph in nine seconds and up to its top speed of 161 kph. To be completely fair, that is quite slow, especially having in mind that it is not very efficient on fuel. Having only three wheels does not give confidence for stability either, but there are some redeeming features. Liberty’s interior and exterior will look very nice, as they were designed in Italy. Furthermore, as a car it should be very safe and fun to drive, as manufacturer claims it features sporty driving. Since it only has one wheel in the front, electronic systems will help it dive into the corners, which should be a lot of fun for both people travelling in Liberty.
You may think that there is no market for such thing, but you would be wrong. There are cars that cost millions and people are waiting for more than a year to get one. PAL-V Liberty is as special as Pagani Huayra, but in its own unique way. And much cheaper than one. And you get piloting lessons too.