A car with rotors: it will soon be possible on public roads in the Netherlands. PAL-V, a company from Raamsdonksveer, somewhere between Dordrecht and ‘s-Hertogenbosch, has been working on it for twelve years. After a process of tests and trials that began in January, the car will receive European approval, which means that it is now allowed on public roads with its own number plate.
In March last year, PAL-V presented its Liberty Pioneer: a futuristic orange colossus weighing 660 kilograms, which is a cross between a racing car and a helicopter. The gyro-copter does not run on a motor, but needs wind to start the rotor – which can be folded for driving on public roads – on the roof. At the back is a propeller that propels the aircraft forward. The aircraft needs a runway because the rotors only gain speed through passing air. It cannot take off vertically.
The biggest challenge in successfully creating flying cars is ensuring that the design complies with both air and traffic regulations.
Technical director PAL-V
Before the prototype can take to the air, a green light is first needed from ESEA, the European aviation regulator. The last test flights will be carried out next year. PAL-V hopes that the Liberty will be allowed to fly in Europe from 2022. “The biggest challenge in successfully creating flying cars is ensuring that the design complies with both air and traffic regulations. Our team is extremely motivated to work hard on the latest milestones and to get a flying certificate, ‘says technical director Mike Stekelenburg.
The Dutch governments have already given the company, which hopes to be profitable in 2021, more than 15 million euros in subsidies. When the company has all approvals, the Liberty goes into production. The first models are expected to be delivered to customers in 2023. In the Netherlands, PAL-V has already sold more than 30. The first limited version costs half a million euros. According to a PAL-V spokesperson, the company is also in talks with Dutch municipalities to build 300-meter runways at motorway exits.
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