Flying-Car Sales Set to Take Flight

PAL-V International BV this week will launch commercial sales in North America and Europe of its Liberty Pioneer and Liberty Sport flying cars with plans to begin pre-production later this year and start deliveries by the end of 2018.

� Buyers can reserve the flying cars with non-refundable deposits of $10,000 for the $400,000 Liberty Sport and $25,000 for the $600,000 Liberty Pioneer. Production of the Pioneer model will be limited to 90 units worldwide.

The Dutch company has been developing gyrocopters for more than a decade and tested prototype concept models in 2009 and 2012. PAL-V says the latest design meets air and land safety requirements around the world.

Users must have a gyroplane license to fly the vehicles, which the company says can be obtained with as little as 30 hours of training.

The vehicles are powered by a dual-engine propulsion system supplied by Rotax GmbH. Lift is made possible by helicopter-like blades that slowly rotate overhead from air moving past them. Propulsion is provided by a rear propeller. It takes less than 10 minutes to switch between car and plane modes, according to the company.

Takeoff can be achieved in as little as 100 ft, although PAL-V recommends having a grass or concrete straightaway at least 900 ft long. Landing requires even less room and can be done even if both engines fail, the company says. It notes gyrocopters can’t stall, and crosswind landings are easier and safer than with a fixed wing airplane because of significantly less turbulence.

More information is available on PAl-V's website.

Several other companies also are developing flying cars. Last week Uber Technologies Inc. hired a former engineer from the U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration to assess the idea of on-demand, self-flying aircraft.