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A flying car, no longer a dream

by Floro Mercene

A flying car is no longer only in movies and cartoons. The first production model of a flying car, PAL-V Liberty, a sleek three-wheeled, two-seat car and gyroplane rolled into one, was unveiled at the Geneva motor show last month.

The PAL-V Liberty is one of several flying cars in development around the world such as The Transition, a folding wing two-seater being developed by US-based Terrafugia, and an all-electric vertical take-off and landing jet being developed by German startup Lilium.

In the air, the PAL-V is pushed forward by a rear mounted propeller driven by two engines. It is stabilized by a larger roof-mounted rotor that bolsters safety. The PAL-V will drive at up to 170 kilometers per hour, fly up to 180 kmh and can fly about 500 kilometers on a single tank of regular unleaded gas. Land it and the rotor and propeller fold away, the tail retracts and the PAL-V is ready to drive. Switching from road to aircraft mode takes about 10 minutes including performing the necessary checks.

With the price tag expected to be around $615, 000 for the first production run of 90. Future drivers of PAL-V have to become certified gyroplane pilots to take it to the sky and the company is offering training courses. PAL-V needs a short runway or grass airstrip to take off and land.

“Pop. Up Next” has also presented a concept flying vehicle at the Geneva show. The passenger capsule looks like a futuristic gondola lift, with a giant quadcopter attached to the roof. The motorized base of the vehicle, which drives, and the upper part, which flies, can be detached and can move autonomously. It is fully electric and zero-emission modular system and is conceived for mass transport in an urban setting.