World's First Flying Car
Author： Sanchita Sairang-Kshatriya
It was a fascinating experience to watch "Back to the Future" or "The Jetsons" and imagine it would be cool to have flying cars. But now, the image of flying cars won't just be restricted to the TV screens and is set to become a reality in India with PAL-V, a Dutch company, planning to test its flying car in the country.
PAL-V (Personal Air and Land Vehicle) has been involved in the development of the world's first commercial personal flying car called the PAL-V Liberty. It is a compact two-person aircraft that can travel on public roads.
"We met Prime Minister Narendra Modi and demonstrated our technology. We might start testing in India very soon," PAL-V Co-Chairman Drs Janpieter Koning told ET.
In 2012, PAL-V had exhibited a prototype of the vehicle. Now the company is working on commercially launching the vehicle worldwide in the next one year for personal buyers.
The company further stated that it will provide training to buyers for obtaining certification for flying the vehicle. The training reportedly takes 35-40 hours.
However, Koning also expressed that the use of the vehicle for public transportation would be challenging for now. It would be necessary to create appropriate regulations and infrastructure, he said. Besides, the battery will be too heavy so other solutions would have to be looked at.
The Netherlands based Flying car-maker PAL-V will set up a manufacturing plant in Gujarat and has set a target of commencing production by 2021.
A Memorandum of Understanding was signed in the presence of Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani between state Industries Principal Secretary MK Das and Carlo Maasbommel, vice president of PAL-V's international business development.
A release said the state government would help the Dutch car-maker in getting all necessary approvals from the Centre for the plant in Gujarat, the first to be set up by the firm in India.
Maasbommel said his company chose Gujarat for its "world-class infrastructure, ease of doing business and better port and logistic facilities". He said the company had set a target of commencing commercial production by 2021, adding that cars manufactured here would also be exported, including to the United States and European nations.
Maasbommel told CM Rupani that PAL-V has so far received orders to export 110 such flying cars.
What are standout features of PAL-V Flying Car
PAL-V Flying Car is fundamentally a gyroplane model, unlike a helicopter, it is known for its simplicity, adaptability and safety characteristics.
The various qualities that make PAL-V Flying Car worth buying are:
PAL-V needs a very short space to take off and land. The Liberty is also sufficiently compact to use on the road without any concerns about its height, width, and length. It eventually is designed for optimal performance and less for luxury.
The PAL-V Flying Car has two engines that can run at a speed of 160 kilometers on-road and fly at a speed of 180 kilometers. The car had the ability to turn into a flying vehicle in just three minutes and cover a distance of 500 km on a full tank.
Low Noise Level
The PAL-V is relatively quiet, and far less sonically intrusive than a helicopter. However, any aviation vehicle is noisy during take-off and landing. That is why take-off and landing is always restricted to places away from habitations. For a flying car, this is not an issue, since it can drive to and from any landing strip or meadow outside the urban areas. Therefore, a flying car is much more practical.
The PAL-V Flying Car is certified under both the EASA (European Aviation Safety Agency) in Europe and the FAA (Federal Aviation Authority) in the U.S. The driver will require a pilot license to fly the vehicle.
The maintenance cost of the PAL-V Flying Car is 1/10th that of a helicopter.
Prices start from $399,000 (approximate Rs 2.6 crore) for the base “Liberty Sport” version while the premium version “Liberty Pioneer Edition” is priced from $600,000 (Rs 3.9 crores). These prices are excluding taxes and import duties if any.
Booking a PAL-V Flying Car for yourself is not cheap either. For the base Liberty Sport version, a deposit of INR 6.6 lakh needs to be made. For the Liberty Pioneer Edition, the same goes up to INR 16.5 lakh. More details can be had on their website.