The movie “Back to the Future” predicted that there would be flying cars by 2015, but two years fast forward we still don’t have a single flying car hitting the skies. Well, that was a work of fiction, and fiction is not for predicting future but for inspiring us. We don’t have any such cars as of now, but there is a flying car which is expected to reach customers as early as 2018.
PAL-V‘s Liberty is set to become the first flying car available for sale, reservations for which are already going on with the first deliveries expected later next year. Liberty is set to come in two editions, a limited edition of 90 cars named Pioneer, true to its name as it will have the title of the first flying car on sale, and another Sports Edition. The deliveries of Sports model will start only after the deliveries for Pioneer Edition is completed.
Liberty will be of the size of any normal car with a length of 4m, a width of 2m and a height of 1.7m. This size means that the car could be parked anywhere, even in home parking garages.
Liberty works on the principal of Autogyro and has two rotors, one on the top, and the other on the back which is also the main rotor. The rotor on the top rotates because of flow of air through it and is not powered by an engine. The main rotor is on the back which acts as a propeller, is driven by an external engine, and provides thrust to the car in flight.
According to PAL-V, the car while flying could turn back in as little as 20m which would make it super maneuverable.
Liberty is powered by two engines so that in case one of the engine fails it will still have another one to keep it in flight until a safe landing spot is reached. These engines produce 200 horsepower which helps in propelling the car up to a maximum speed of 180km/hr while in the air. Liberty can accommodate 2 people and can carry a maximum useful load of 246kg which is enough for 2 persons as well as their luggage. On maximum takeoff weight, Liberty can go up to 400km with enough fuel left to easily go above 100km while driving on the road.
For running on the road and also to assist in takeoff and landings, Liberty is equipped with three wheels. These coupled with a 100 horsepower engine gives Liberty a maximum speed of 160km/hr. It can reach a speed of 100km/r from 0 in less than 9 seconds and have a maximum range of 1315km while driving on-road.
The transition of Liberty between driving and flying mode does not require any special tools as the process is semi-automatic. The whole process takes 3-5 minutes. Before takeoff, the pilot needs to pull the tails and unfold the rotor blades and propeller. After landing the pilot have to push the tail back and fold the rotor blades and the propellor. Nothing needs to be attached or detached in this process as while driving the propellers is safely stowed inside the body of the car and the rotors folded on top of the car.
PAL-V’s Liberty is going to compete in a tight market where many companies are trying to launch the same type of vehicles, but Liberty may have the advantage of being the first flying car for sale if everything goes as planned. The likes of Terrafujia’s Transition and AeroMoil’s Aeromobil 4.0 are going to compete with Liberty in the near future but deliveries for any of them are not going to start in or before 2018. This gives Liberty time to make a good first impression but, only time will tell about how it will perform?
PAL-V stands for Personal Air and Land Vehicle is a Dutch company founded in 2001. In 2012, the test flight of PAL-V One was successfully completed. PAL-V One was a test model which helped in the design process of PAL-V liberty. They expect to start the deliveries for their first commercial flying car Liberty in 2018.
If you are interested in cars, then take a look at our article on Tesla’s Model 3. Below is a video by PAL-V about Liberty.