PAL-V hoping to lead personal transportation revolution
By Mike Hanlon
October 18, 2004
What happens if you cross a gyrocopter with a car and a motorbike? The PAL-V is the answer, a personal air and land concept vehicle designed to solve the increasing congestion in our cities and highways. On the ground, the slimline, aerodynamic 3-wheel vehicle is as comfortable as a luxury car, yet has the agility of a motorbike, thanks to its patented cutting-edge "tilting" system. The single rotor and propeller are folded away until the PAL-V is ready to fly. Once airborne, the PAL-V flies under the 4,000 feet (1,500 m) floor of commercial air space.
The PAL-V is highly fuel-efficient and powered by an environmentally certified car engine. It runs on petrol like a conventional car and could reach speeds of up to 200 km/h both on land and in the air.
The company claims the vehicle's straightforward autogyro flying technology means that the PAL-V is economically and technically feasible in comparison to other forms of air travel.
Unlike a helicopter, which offers VTOL, the company claims the PAL-V has a "Very Short Take Off and Vertical Landing (VSTOVL) capability", which means it does need a short take-off and landing strip. Accordingly, it can be driven to the nearest airfield or helipad and, because it flies below 4,000 feet, in many countries it can take off without filing a flight plan.
The autogyro technology means that it can be steered and landed safely even if the engine fails as it descends vertically rather than nose-diving. Lift is generated by the forward speed produced by the foldable push propeller on the back.
At less than 70 decibels it is much quieter than helicopters due to the slower rotating of the main rotor.
A license to fly the PAL-V is more accessible than one for a helicopter or plane because of the regulations controlling autogyro craft.
What makes the PALV attractive is the convenience of fully integrated door to door transportation, providing smooth transition from road to air without having to change vehicle.
John Bakker, a Dutch entrepreneur working closely with Spark design engineering and other partners, is developing the PALV. The concept was inspired by living in one of the most world's most densely populated countries.
The project is seeking funding on the basis that with further development, this hybrid prototype can pave the way for an affordable and feasible transportation alternative. The aim is to enable driving and flying combined in one vehicle that could cost little more than an executive saloon car.
For additional information contact Spark Design
- Top speed: >200 km/h
- Max airspeed: 195 km/h
- Rotary engine Power output: 213 hp
- 0 - 100 km/h: < 5 sec
- Min airspeed: 30 km/h
- Length: 4 m
- Max tilting angle when cornering: 30 degrees
- Take off distance: 50 m
- Width: 1.2 m
- Estimated fuel economy: 30km/litre @ 100 kmh
- Min landing distance: 5 m
- Height: 1.6 m
- Range: 600 km air, 550 km road
- Weight: 550 kg
- Fuel: 95/98 unleaded