Five decades ago, The Jetsons predicted that we would be flying our families in airborne cars. Experts believe this dream is very close to reality.
The Pal-V One Helicycle – a two-seat hybrid car and gyrocopter, has now been voted the ‘most likely to become a reality.
Robert Dingemanse, the firm’s CEO, promises significant updates in coming months as the firm begins manufacturing a limited edition model. The firm also says it is ‘very advanced’ in certifying the product in Europe under EASA CS 27 regulations.
The two-seater vehicle converts from a three-wheeled motorcycle to a gyrocopter in 10 minutes. It has 230hp, four-cylinder engine and reaches speeds of up 112 mph in the air or on the road.
It goes from 0 to 60mph in under 8 seconds.
The gyrocopter is designed to cruise at low altitudes (below 4,000ft) and it requires a 165 metre runway for take-offs. For landing, it needs just 30 metres.
The 27-gallon gas tank provides a 220-mile flight range (750 miles on the road).
But it will not go mainstream soon, as owners require a Sports Pilot Certificate to fly it. And there also the small issue of $600,000 price tag.
‘When you have a prestigious brand like Top Gear referring to our vehicle as the world’s first plausible flying car and now Maxim men’s magazine giving us a thumbs up for the world’s first real flying car, it means a lot,’ said the firm’s Vice President of Sales in North America, Mark Jennings-Bates.
‘We have recently started talking to buyers and have the first contracts in place and a lot of interest.
‘We anticipate deliveries of a certified PAL-V in North America to happen in 2018.’
‘On the ground the vehicle drives like a sports car,’ said Pal-V. ‘Within minutes its rotor is unfolded and its tail is extended: then it is ready to take off thanks to the advanced gyrocopter technology.’