Nothing screams “the future” more than the promise of flying cars. Some think it’s ridiculous, others think it is utopia. Nonetheless, Dutchman Robert Dingemanse, CEO and co-founder of PAL-V, sees it as a possible solution to the traffic problem, but above all as a revolutionary way to get around. He claims that the first commercially available flying car in the world is Dutch-made and will arrive on land and in the air by 2020.
The two developed models are ‘Liberty Pioneer’ and the ‘Liberty Sport’, which can accommodate two people and are already approved for use on public roads. It is a cross between a car and a gyrocopter.
Practical mobility solution
The Netherlands is a crowded country, with a lot of traffic problems, and in terms of mobility, flying is not always the easiest or the fastest option. From his own experience and frustration, Dingemanse went on to think: “Imagine that you can just leave from your own garage, with a vehicle that can both drive and fly? Wouldn’t that be useful? ” And that is how the five years collaboration between Robert Dingemanse (an engineer) The Technical University of Delft, the engineering firm Spark from Rotterdam and the National Aerospace Laboratory from Amsterdam, started.
“The process was one of peaks, but certainly also of valleys,” says Dingemanse. “In the past hundred years, various concepts for flying cars have been developed, which involved four-wheelers that flew very badly or tricycles that were slow as snail. Pal-V features a dual engine design, using one for road and one for the air, and it’s actually based on a classic style of aircraft design, called a ‘gyroplane’ which is a proven way of navigating the skies.
Taking off from your backyard?
Taking off from a parking spot along the highway? Not really. You still need a small airfield or airstrip to take off and land. There are around 10,000 in Europe. A supplied app provides the PAL-V driver with an overview of the nearest airstrips. The PAL-V does not need more than two hundred meters to take off.
Naturally you still need a pilot’s license to fly it (and a driver’s license to drive it). Once in possession, you can take off from any airstrip, with a speed of 180 kilometers per hour, bypass every traffic jam, at a maximum height of 3.5 kilometers. The maximal driving speed is 150 kilometers per hour.
The flight range of PAL-V is 400 kilometers, without using the reserve fuel. You can drive 1,300 kilometers with a full tank. Then you can simply fill the PAL-V with Euro95. And in between switching from car to gyrocopter. It takes between five and ten minutes to convert from flying to driving mode and vice versa.
Highway in the sky
According to the CEO of Pal-V, the infinite airspace offers the greatest advantage of flying compared to driving: “The road has only one dimension; straight ahead in one long row. The airspace has three dimensions. Here you can also move under and above each other. Traffic jam is therefore not an issue in the air. And in the future, if people want to drive people to the same place in the airspace at the same time, a solution has already been found in 1996. For the Olympic Games, the system ‘Highway in the sky’ was then set up, which simply regulates vehicles in the air. That technology has been waiting for us for twenty years. It is a piece of cake to implement that now “, says Dingenmanse.
For a small part of the market, the PAL-V offers a nicer and easier mobility solution. But only for those with deep pocket. The flying car is not a bargain. For 300,000 euros you can get the Sport edition. Excluding taxes. The Liberty Pioneer will set you back 499,000 euros. Who is in line for this? If we are to believe Dingemanse, it is not only millionaires and entrepreneurs, but also larger companies and governments. “A number of Dutch ministries have already made a reservation. They want to use the PAL-V for observation and surveillance. We will also be discussing with MSFs (Doctors without borders) shortly. It is nice to see how the vehicle can be used for emergency relief and extra safety. ”
In addition, according to Dingemanse, the PAL-V also offers the option of a new lifestyle: “This vehicle offers people new opportunities for mobility. This means that a commuting distance will be easier to bridge.”
Will we be massively airborne in the future? That will take some time, thinks Robert Dingemanse. “Aviation technology is still very expensive, just like the light materials that are used for this purpose. A flying car will therefore not get the price of a middle class car in the foreseeable future. For many people, the flying car therefore remains a dream for the future. “