Since Henry Ford built the Model T Ford, people have been dreaming of a vehicle that could drive and fly.
It took almost 90 years before this dream could be realised, but now it will – that is, if PAL-V Europe of the Netherlands has its way.
The company began researching the concept of developing a flying car back in 1999, investigating a number of possible concepts. The company made numerous designs and patented all its findings.
Based on its research and with support from a number of investors, the team at PAL-V Europe, led by John Bakker, recently announced that they are to build the PAL-V One, which they claim will be the first personal air and land vehicle (PAL-V).
Once built, the three-wheeled PAL-V will run on petrol, as with a conventional car, but also on biodiesel or bio-ethanol. It will reach speeds of up to 200km/h both on land and in the air. Airborne, the PAL-V will fly under the 4,000ft (1,500m) floor of commercial airspace.
At the heart of the PAL-V gyrocopter-like vehicle lies a dynamic vehicle control (DVC) system, which automatically adjusts the tilt angle of the cockpit to the speed and acceleration of the vehicle, enabling a plane-like tilting before cornering.
The company says that European and US regulations will allow people to fly the PAL-V with a sports aviation licence. It takes between 20 hours and 40 hours getting a pilot’s licence, while driving the vehicle could be done with a regular car driver’s licence.