The idea of circling the globe has fascinated travellers since long before Jules Verne’s Around the World in Eight Days. One version of the famous voyage that never has been tried however, is a circumnavigation of the entire planet in a flying car.
That’s just what Mark Jennings-Bates of PAL-V is planning in his company’s Liberty vehicle, which is in its final development phase. The biggest challenge facing him is the fact that the flying car has a range of just over 300 miles making crossing the Atlantic Ocean a daunting prospect.
He told Lonely Planet: “We would be flying from North America (West Coast) in a clockwise direction across the continent then position ourselves for a North Atlantic crossing over to Europe in short 5 hour hops.” Things get a little bit less complicated then with a route through Europe and Asia bringing him to the far eastern shores of Russia and within touching distance of Alaska.
“An accident is nearly always fatal over the North Atlantic,” explained Mark, “and the duration of the flight will require additional fuel in a bladder in the cockpit so it gets challenging. The logistics of such an attempt are also mammoth and so getting to the start line with the right focus is important. Transit permits through some of the Asia and the final leg across the Bering Strait will also be an issue. Lots to keep me busy for the next few years!”
Mark, Vice President Americas for the company, is hopeful that the journey could be finished in around three months, depending on weather, and is working to secure a TV deal to track the voyage. The vehicle he would use – the PAL-V – is in its final development stage and is expected to be ready for action in about six months. He said: “Then we need to go through certification in various jurisdictions. That certainly adds to the complexity of the project.”
This test flight video gives you an idea of the type of flying car Mark will be travelling in as he attempts to circle the globe.