As Terrafugia looks to make headlines with the debut of its Transition roadable aircraft at the upcoming New York International Auto Show, a Dutch company with an intriguing flying car is making news of its own a continent away. Startup manufacturer PAL-V Europe flew its roadable gyrocopter for the first time last week, and in the process proved there’s more than one way to merge travel by street and sky.
PAL-V stands for Personal Land and Air Vehicle, and that’s exactly what this machine is. On the road, the vehicle resembles a three-wheeled motorcycle, with a unique tilting suspension system that makes it surprisingly agile in the corners. Once stopped, the PAL-V’s rotor and rear-facing propeller quickly unfold and the craft is ready to take to the air, flying much like a conventional gyrocopter.
In the first-flight video, the PAL-V appears to excel as both a land- and air-going vehicle, with perhaps its only discernible drawback being an ability to carry only one occupant – although PAL-V Europe says the production version, due to hit the streets in 2014, will carry two.
Its makers claim the trike will have a top speed of 112 mph on the highway, a 0-60 time of under 8 seconds and fuel economy of 28 mpg. In the air, the PAL-V will have a max speed of 97 knots, a takeoff roll or 540 feet and a landing roll of just 100 feet. Range in the air will be 220 to 315 miles, depending on the version. Empty weight is projected to be 1,500 pounds and max gross weight slightly more than 2,000 pounds.
Based in Raamsdonksveer in the Netherlands, PAL-V Europe is now turning its attention to securing investors for the project, which the company says will meet all road-licensing standards in Europe and the U.S. A firm price for the PAL-V has yet to be released, but the company in the past has mentioned figures ranging from $141,000 to $250,000.
While the PAL-V appears perfectly suited to European roads, if the project ever gets past the development stage, it’s a safe bet buyers in the U.S. will want one too.