PAL-V Showcases Production Model Flying Car at GIMS 2019
Flying car company PAL-V is preparing to enter a new phase of production. Earlier this month, the company revealed the PAL-V Liberty Pioneer Edition, a limited edition flying car designed for personal transport, at the Geneva International Motor Show (GIMS) 2019.
Unlike the VTOL-powered units for urban commutes teased by Uber (which won't be ready for quite some time), PAL-V's flagship flying car caters to recreational, laid-back flights. The PAL-V Liberty Pioneer Edition is considered to be the world's first production model unit. With only 90 units to be produced by the company, deliveries for the aircraft is scheduled to start in 2020.
PAL-V Liberty Pioneer Edition
The limited-edition unit will offer a unique flying experience, enabling individuals to fly over wide spaces, such as fields and agricultural properties, as well as travel on roads (that allow them). Equipped with a dual control cockpit and a robust electronic flight instrument system, the flying car showcased at GIMS 2019 looks more refined than previous versions. The limited-edition aircraft incorporates heavy-duty carbon materials, a two-color exterior and a custom cabin, which are not available in the standard Liberty model.
"The Pioneer Edition is for those that want to be part of a unique group that writes history with us. They will be at the forefront of a mobility revolution, where we will no longer have cars that can only drive. They will be the first car flyers in their country, fly-driving to any destination," said the business in a press release.
The PAL-V Liberty Pioneer closely resembles a gyrocopter, which has been around since the 1920s. With a top speed of 110 mph, the aircraft can hold two passengers (including the pilot). The cabin contains a digital panel, pedals, a conventional steering wheel and sleek leather seats for comfort.
One Industry, Two Solutions
PAL-V's offering is a great addition to the nascent flying car industry. Ultimately, it shows there are two needs that must be filled by the sector: public transport in urban locations and personal flight. As mentioned earlier, VTOL-powered electric flying cars that takeoff from heliports are still far away. In addition to technological challenges, lacking infrastructure and regulations are causing bottlenecks in development.
"The gyroplane principle not only provides us with a safe and easy-to-operate flying car but it also enables us to make it compact and within existing regulations, which is the most important factor to build a useable flying car," highlighted Mike Stekelenburg, Chief Engineer at PAL-V.
Stekelenburg's vision is more in line with the current capabilities of flying car companies today. For takeoff and traveling on roads, PAL-V's recreational flying car contains three wheels and side mirrors. When on the road, the rotors and tail fold seamlessly over the cockpit to prevent damage. With this feature, individuals could opt to travel on roads when outdoor conditions are not suitable for safe flight.
Moreover, it would allow people to reach their destinations more accurately, without reliance on last-mile options, such as taxis, ride-sharing or switching to a private vehicle from an airport.
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