Lonely Planet Writer

Flying Dutchmen take to the skies in the world's first airborne car

An aircraft engineering firm in the Netherlands has built what could be the world’s first flying car. The PAL-V company have already conducted several successful test flights in the gyroplane-like vehicle, which could go on sale to those with a Sports Pilot Certificate as early as 2018.

PAL-V ONE flying car.
PAL-V ONE flying car.

The two-seater design, which is a hybrid of a car and a gyroplane, takes around ten minutes to convert between aircraft and automobile. It is fitted with an engine that allows it to drive for 1200km or fly for 400km, and it can hit top speeds of 170 km/h on the road and 180km/h in the air.

But don’t dream of soaring above a traffic jam just yet – the current design requires a space of around 200m x 30m to takeoff and land. Around 45 petrol-powered PAL-V ONEs are expected to be made available in Europe  by 2018 with a starting price tag of around €500,000.

Dutch designed PAL-V hybrid of a car and a gyroplane.
Dutch designed PAL-V hybrid of a car and a gyroplane.

Speaking about the product, PAL-V CEO Robert Dingemanse said, “We have been working for more than four years in silence. Before making any new announcements, we wanted to make sure that all the checks are in the boxes.”

View from an airborne PAL-V
View from an airborne PAL-V

The company confirmed that the PAL-V ONE complied with all current flight regulations and the vehicles would usually fly “below 4000 feet (1200 m), the airspace available for uncontrolled Visual Flight Rules (VFR).”It usually requires between 20 and 40 hours of training to gain a gyroplane license. Those flying in Europe would have to pass a medical exam as well.