The idea of combining the abilities of an automobile and an airplane in one vehicle isn’t a new one, with many inventors and engineers having tried to get flying cars off the ground in the past. Until now, these contraptions were mostly one-off concepts and prototypes, but one company now claims that it is ready to send its idea of a flying car into mass production, and is even taking preorders already.
Called the PAL-V Liberty—how we wish “PAL” here stood for Philippine Airlines—the car that is promising to let buyers soar high above any traffic jam was engineered in Holland and designed in Italy. It features two petrol engines with an output of 100hp each, and can travel at up to 160km/h on the ground or 140km/h in the air. Technically speaking, the Liberty is a gyrocopter, featuring helicopter-like blades that can rotate freely to generate lift, while a separate propeller at the back provides the necessary propulsion to fly up to 400km at an altitude of 3,500m and with two passengers onboard.
On the ground, PAL-V says that its creation can travel up to 1,315km on a single tank, and will give the driver a sports car-like feeling thanks to the tilting mechanism utilized by the three-wheeler. Weighing only 664kg and measuring 4m long, 2m wide and 1.7m tall in road mode, the Liberty can supposedly be driven around town just like any other car, including keeping it in underground parking facilities.
Anyone wishing to take this car to the skies will need a pilot license as well as 330m of runway or clear road to get it up to enough speed for takeoff. And in the unlikely event that the engines pack up mid-flight, the vehicle can simply glide to the ground and land almost like a helicopter in a space as small as a tennis court. The company is currently working on getting the remaining aviation certifications approved before the Liberty can officially go on sale, but preorders are already being taken.
As you can probably guess, owning a flying car isn’t a cheap thing to do, with prices for the first 90 production units—called the Liberty Pioneer Editions—starting at $599,000 (P31,100,000), and regular Liberty Sport units coming in at $399,000 (P20,700,000). Maybe a small price to pay for being able to travel from Quezon City to Makati in 10 minutes instead of the current two hours.