PAL-V says the gyroplane setup is much safer than other designs, as the vehicle can fly at slower speeds and land in smaller areas.
How much would you pay to avoid the daily grind of slowly navigating through bumper-to-bumper traffic? Netherlands-based PAL-V is offering relief in the form of the Liberty Pioneer and Liberty Sport flying cars, which officially go on sale this week, ahead of deliveries that are expected near the end of 2018.
The Liberty Pioneer has an expected price of $599,000 USD (approx. $780,000 CAD), while the more affordable Sport model will cost around $399,000 USD (approx. $590,000 CAD). The company says it has introduced PAL-V models to "selected clients in Canada, USA, Mexico, and Bermuda."
The Liberty can take to the road like your typical three-wheeler (something we realize is growing in popularity, but still quite rare), with PAL-V saying the vehicle doesn't exceed the dimensions of your typical car. Following a 5-10 minute conversion, you have yourself a fully-functional airplane, capable of flying over any traffic jam.
The company was founded in 2007 and released two concept cars before engineering the upcoming production models. It says that it designed the Liberty to adhere to numerous safety regulations around the world, including the FAA in the U.S., and the EASA in Europe. It claims that numerous countries around the world follow the same rules.
Although the rotor atop the Liberty makes it looks like it behaves similarly to a helicopter, that's not the case. The vehicle is in fact a gyroplane, meaning it uses a separate propeller to move the rotor at the top. PAL-V says the gyroplane setup is much safer than other designs, as the vehicle can fly at slower speeds and land in smaller areas. Emergency landings are also made safer than other aircraft.
Before you go writing a cheque for close to one million dollars, it's worth noting that you have to have both a driver's licence and a flying licence to operate the Liberty in both its modes. In addition, you can't just be landing this bad boy in a particularly barren section of a mall parking lot. You'll pretty much require a landing strip of some sort in order to take off and land the vehicle in airplane mode.
The Liberty runs on the same gasoline you buy at the local gas station, so who knows - in a couple years' time, you may be filling up your Honda Civic while a really rich person in a Liberty is doing the same thing right beside you.