The world’s first flying car is debuting at Farnborough Air Show

By Rose Adams | 05 Jul 2018 | Speed

Wave goodbye to road traffic as this revolutionary gyroplane lands in the UK for the first time ever

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* The long awaited PAL-V Liberty is making its debut. And it's better than we ever imagined

Last year's automotive innovations were all centred on the dream of sci-fi fans everywhere – the flying car – and now the long awaited PAL-V Liberty is making its debut. And it's better than we ever imagined. The world’s first flying car production model, the PAL-V Liberty  will make its first fully functional UK appearance at the prestigious Farnborough International Air Show from 16-22 July. 

Created by Dutch flying car developer PAL-V, this three-wheel gyrocopter (above) has been in development for more than 15 years. Interchanging effortlessly between a car and a plane, the Liberty can reach 100 mph on the ground, and fly up to 11,480 feet in the air. The gyroplane model encompasses a dual engine propulsion drive train based on the design of two airplane engines from Rotax, one of the leading manufacturers in aviation engineering. It was developed using state of the art technologies from both the aerospace and automotive industries, and offers slow flight envelope characteristics – including slow glides up to safe vertical descends.

Related: The three flying cars set to revolutionise our roads

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* This three-wheel gyrocopter has been in development for more than 15 years, and is able to interchange effortlessly between a car and a plane, and fly up to 11,480 feet in the air

"The production model is the moment of truth. The moment where the wall between fiction and facts is torn down,” said Robert Dingemanse, CEO of PAL-V. “A production model is the last stage in the R&D process before starting full production and delivery. 

"All certifications required for commercialization will be granted on the basis of this production model. It's the pivotal point that separates pioneers from dreamers. Once full certification is granted in 2020 we will hand over the keys of the PAL-V Liberty to our first customers."

In the air, the gyroplane's underlying technology ensures a stable flying platform which supports safe landing even in the event of a total power failure. Its certified under the strict regime of European Aviation Safety Agency and Federal Aviation Administration and applicable road safety. Although it takes up to 10 minutes to switch from drive to fly mode – or vice versa – perks include smooth flying even in the (albeit unlikely) turbulent air due to its high rotor speed. Drivers will experience just 20% of the turbulence compared to a traditional fixed-wing aircraft. 

"It takes a lot of testing to prove that the PAL-V Liberty complies with the regulations," said Mike Stekelenburg, PAL-V's chief engineer. "Our design philosophy of complying with existing road and air regulations saved us many years in time to market. Instead of opting for a flying car concept on the basis of not yet existing or immature technologies, requiring new regulations, we deliberately chose to design, engineer and manufacture a flying car with proven technologies. This approach enables a realistic and imminent first product delivery date."

PAL-V International B.V was established in 2007 and has been testing the ‘proof of concept’ PAL-V since 2008. With claims it's more practical and useful than a helicopter – since you can even park it in your car garage without the need for hangar space – we expect to be queueing for our gyroplane licence in no time.

 

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* In the air, the gyroplane's underlying technology ensures a stable flying platform which supports safe landing even in the unlikely event of a total power failure.

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