RobotRepublic — Who will be the first person to successfully circle the world in a flying car?
That would’ve sounded like an exceedingly nutty question not that long ago. But now, according to the company behind the PAL-V flying car, such a voyage is actually in the works.
And no one is saying it is going to be easy.
The hard part about accomplishing such a feat probably isn’t what you think. The issue, says Pal-V vice-president Mark Jennings-Bates, is fuel. The PAL-V flying car can travel no more than 817 miles on land and 310 miles on a tank of gas. That fuel capacity gets you across an expanse of Greenland, as a PAL-V pilot recently discovered, and that’s the limit of it.
To safely circumnavigate the globe, whoever is flying is going to have to maintain an eagle-eyed watch the fuel gauge, he said.
The firm has yet to announce a target date for the journey, but early plans suggest a route that starts and ends near San Francisco.
PAL-V’s plans to be the first flying car to fly around the Earth is the latest in a string of high profile announcement from the company, which began accepting pre-orders earlier this year for two of its single-seat, three-wheeled Flying Car models, the PAL-V Liberty Sport and the Liberty Pioneer.
To get on the waiting list for the vehicles, the firm requires either a non-refundable deposit ($10K and $25K for the Sport and the Pioneer respectively) or a $2,500 deposit in escrow. Prices start at $400,000 for the base level Sport. The Pioneer, which will come equipped with options like power-heating and an electronic flight instrument display panel, will cost $599,000.
Flush with cash and dying to own one, are you? Fully certified PAL-V flying cars will be delivered to customers by the end of 2018.
That’s a long time to wait, of course. But in the scheme of things, what’s a year or even two considering that the world’s been waiting for flying cars since, well, forever?
In the means, you can always sign up for flying car school. PAL-V is setting up a flying car driving school in Roosevelt, Utah, company officials said. That, they add, is to ensure that anyone interested in buying a PAL-V flying car has time to get a pilot’s license. Owners in the US need a full pilot license, which entails at least 40 hours of flight time, officials say.
Until the PAL-V is approved by the US Federal Aviation Administration and its European counterpart, the Aviation Safety Agency (ASA), all instruction will happen on gyroplanes. That’s the same technology the PAL-V uses. Unlike helicopters, gyroplanes can’t vertically land of takeoff. Rather, they glide horizontally to the ground, according to the company’s FAQ.
PAL-V is still in the process of receiving approval from the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration and the European Aviation Safety Agency for its flying car, though the company says that EASA has certified all the vehicle’s individual components and it’s now just a matter of putting them all together. If all goes well, PAL-V plans on rolling out its flying cars to customers in 2018.
For RobotRepublic, I’m Gina Smith.
Here’s the February 2017 video announcing the PAL-V Liberty lineup.