Forget autonomous cars, the first commercially available flying car is up for pre-order for a mere $399,000

If you’re a well-heeled millionaire and you want to travel in style, it’s not a self-driving car or an indulgent Rolls you want, it’s a flying car.

Dutch company Pal-V has announced that it will start taking orders for the first, commercially available flying car. The vehicle/aircraft is priced at $399,000. The high-end Pioneer model, which is the one you, being a millionaire and all that, will want and will set you back by $599,000. You’ll have to hurry, for there are only 90 Pioneer models on sale. The cheaper variant is called the Liberty Sport.

That’s a small price to pay for exclusivity, right?

The vehicle is a 3-wheeler, so calling it a car may not be entirely correct. It has a top speed of 160 km/h on the ground and takes around 9 seconds to go from 0-100 km/h. It’s top speed in the air is around 180 km/h.

Given the three-wheeled design, the vehicle behaves like a bike on the road, tilting left and right as you turn. In drive Mode, the car uses a 100 hp motor. In flight mode, it uses a 200 hp one. The service ceiling in flight mode is 3,500 m with a “useful load” of 246 kg. The minimum takeoff distance is 180 m. When flying, the vehicle has a range of around 400-500 km depending on load, and has an endurance of about 4.3 hours. It also uses 26 litres of fuel per hour and has a 100 litre tank.

While the vehicle is based on a rotating wing design, like a helicopter, it doesn’t have a tail rotor for correcting the torque from the main rotor. Instead, it has a rotor on the back for forward propulsion. Given the vehicle’s rated minimum speed of 50 km/h, we expect that Pal-V has gone for a gyrocopter-style design (Remember Mad Max 2?). This is borne out by the fact that Pal-V refers to the vehicle as a gyroplane.

To ensure your safety, the vehicle can switch between engines when flying. The 200 hp engine is the primary engine for flight purposes, but the 100 hp engine can be used in emergencies as well. In fact, as Pal-V points out, gyroplanes are safer than regular aircraft because they’re not that dependent on airspeed (look up autorotation). In fact, they’re easier to fly than helicopters.

The vehicles also uses a a Human Error Proactive Counteraction (HEPC) system that is designed to minimise human error.

Now isn't that nice?

Published Date: Feb 14, 2017 04:59 pm | Updated Date: Feb 14, 2017 04:59 pm