Flying machine becomes reality: PAL-V (Personal Air and Land Vehicle) makes successful maiden flight
Update Apr. 2, 2012 20.05 GMT
It was uploaded to Youtube on Apr. 1 hence, I initially though it was an April Fool, however the video shows a genuine flying car registered on the civil Rotorcraft Register of The Netherlands on Jan. 30, 2012 with c/n 1 and registration PH-PAV (type PAL-V Prototype 2 [Gyro]).
It has successfully conducted test flights in the past two weeks at the Gilze Rijen airport, in the Netherlands.
The PAL-V (Personal Air and Land Vehicle) is more similar to a motorcycle than a sports car. It’s a gyrocopter whose back push propeller provides the propulsion needed for main rotor autorotation. Since both the rotor and the propeller are foldable, the PAL-V can quite quickly transition from flying to road-mode.
According to the manufacturer, the “flying motorbike” usually flies below 4,000 feet and can reach speeds of up to 180 km/h (112 mph) both on land and in the air. It is equipped with a flight certified engine, running on gasoline. Its range is 750 miles on the road and up to 315 miles in flight.
Even if it doesn’t require a real runway a space of 650 feet x 100 feet (200 x 30 meters) is required. The pilot can control pitch and roll by tilting the rotor with a control stick/steering wheel similar to those of fixed wing aircraft and control yaw by way of a rudder.
Although it’s almost impossible to foresee a widespread use of this VSTOVL (Very Short Take Off Vertical Landing) the flexibility of a similar flying machine makes the PAL-V and any other gyroplane with similar features an ideal tools for limited law enforcement, first-aid, border control, surveillance missions.
Time will tell.