Dutch company PAL-V (Personal Air and Land Vehicle) has announced that the first test of its gyrocoptor, also called the PAL-V (seen here in action) was successful, according to the AFP Newswire, via The Sydney Morning Herald, which had a representative on site at the test facility to witness the event. The Telegraph, which also had an editor in attendance, writes that the PAL-V is likely to herald a new age in commuter travel.
The PAL-V is unlike other flying cars in that it uses a gyroscope and rotors to get it off the ground and soaring, rather than wings and high speed, although it does have a rear rotor as well which works like a fan, pushing the vehicle forward. Also, because its rotors spin much more slowly than a regular helicopter, the makers of the vehicle say it’s incredibly easy to pilot, and makes a lot less noise.
The AFP says the new design appears more elegant than other flying cars, such as the “Transition” car-plane made by Terrafugia, which very recently announced it’s very near to delivering vehicles to customers.
Like its competition, the PAL-V is able to be driven around on public roads (as a three wheeled vehicle) and despite its rotor, does require a span of runway to take off (165 meters). It also converts from car to flying vehicle automatically at the push of a button, unfolding first the rotors then the other parts, including a tail. The company says it can go 315 miles at altitudes of up to 4000 feet, flying as fast as 113 miles per hour, more than enough to fly over any land mass that might be in its flight path. Landing requires a bit of space as well (30 meters), and at least initially, due to European laws, will only be allowed to take off and land from airports.
The Telegraph notes that while other flying cars appear to look like cars that can fly, the PAL-V looks more like a helicopter that can be folded up and driven on roads, which they say, makes more sense, since the primary purpose of most such vehicles is purportedly, to fly. The driving aspect is only for the short hop to get from the landing site to the primary destination.
Executives for the company told AFP that they expect their new craft will do nothing less than revolutionize the commute to work and back, as the company expects prices for the PAL-V (currently not yet available) to drop enough to allow virtually anyone that wants one to buy in and begin flying, once they get their pilot’s license of course.