A Dutch company said this weekend that it had conducted its first successful test of their “flying car” prototype that they hope to make available for consumers by sometime in 2014.
The Personal Air and Land Vehicle — PAL-V, for short — is not a new concept: its European creators have been working on the vehicle for years now, and even suffered a thumping by reporters in 2009 when they showed off a mini-copter design that looked nothing like the device featured in their artists’ renditions.
That early demonstration, however, appears to have been merely a proof-of-technology display to showcase their helicopter’s new gyro-sensing capabilities. Finally demonstrated again last weekend, it now seems that PAL-V Europe‘s design and engineering concepts have come together nicely, with the near end result looking remarkably like their initial drawings and flying like a champ.
With its rotors deployed, the PAL-V looks more like a helicopter than a car, but the blades can retract and fold up when the vehicle switches to driving mode, much like a convertible can fold and stow its top. Seating two, the company says it can cover up to 750 miles on a full tank of gas, clocking in at about 28 miles per gallon. It gets a bit less while flying, though: PAL-V Europe adds that a full tank should provide enough lift to travel 220-315 miles.
The PAL-V, however, is not made to fly terribly high, which the company argues is actually a selling point. They boast that because of its altitude range, the PAL-V is the first device of its kind which may be legally driven and piloted in the U.S. or Europe, where commercial aircraft are banned from lower airspace.
Even though the PAL-V demonstration video was posted on April 1, incredible as it sound and looks, the PAL-V does not appear to be another hoax like the “bird man” video that went viral earlier this year.
Pal-V Europe hopes to deliver their forthcoming vehicle sometime in 2014.
By Stephen C. Webster