The world’s very first flying car was unveiled this month. Amazingly orders are now being taken for the National Pioneer Personal Air Landing Vehicle, or PAL-V for short, a model that will do as we speculated in 2017 and ‘change everything’.
The main attraction at the recent Miami: 2020 and Beyond event, this car turned plane is a major feat of engineering. While the prototype version was rolled out for the crowds, a commercial equivalent is in production and set for a 2021 release. In fact, no less than 70 enthusiasts have pre-ordered their own.
The Liberty is a three-wheeler, both to save weight in the air and because the category is easier to street-certify than a four-wheeled car. It’s not a bad compromise, you still get a reasonably stable ride with a roof over your head.
And it’ll certainly turn heads; the folded-up top rotor and large retracted tail fins make it look a bit like half a McLaren loaded up with gear for some weird snow sport that hasn’t been invented yet. The PAL-V Liberty is designed to comfortably hold two passengers, and take off while carrying more than 908 kg (2,000 pounds). It can operate as both a car and an aircraft, and each mode would have different capabilities.
In road mode, with an unspecified but grunty-sounding 100-horsepower engine, Pal-V says it’ll do 100 mph (160 km/h), and a 0-62 mph (0-100 km/h) sprint in less than nine seconds. Feel free not to be too whelmed; pigeons ain’t great sprinters either, but the whole flying thing makes up for it somewhat. Owners will need a pilot’s license to take full advantage of the PAL-V Liberty, as well as access to a small landing strip or airfield. According to TechCrunch, the transition from car mode to flight mode takes between five and 10 minutes.