Will the Dream of a Flying Car Finally Become a Reality?

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We’ve all dreamed of having a flying car, but two companies are working to make this dream a reality. The latest in flying car designs is the Personal Air and Land Vehicle (PAL-V) One, which is advertised as going from high performance sports car to flying car in just minutes. Based in the Netherlands, the PAL-V company says this is “the ultimate vehicle to go wherever and whenever you want to, easily overcoming all sorts of barriers. Now you can leave home and fly-drive to almost any destination! Avoid traffic jams and cross lakes, fjords, rivers or mountain ranges like an eagle.”

Sign me up!

See a video of the PAL-V in flight, below.

While the PAL-V is designed more like a helicopter, another flying car prototype we reported on, the Terrafugia Transition, operates more like a airplane. Terrafugia recently completed its first test flight, and sells for about $250,000. The PAL-V One does not yet have listed price, but likely would be in a similar price range. Both companies hope to bring their products to market soon, with Terrafugia targeting a late 2012 release date, and PAL-V aiming for 2014.

PAL-V uses gyroplane technology for flying, with rotors that fold up when you want to drive the vehicle on land. It can fly to an altitude of 4,000 feet (considerably lower than the 30,000 to 50,000 feet where commercial jets fly), and owners would need to have a Sport Pilot’s certificate in order to fly the PAL-V One.

For more info, see the PAL-V website.

Your Flying Car is Here

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Here’s your flying car. And it’s just gotten approval from the US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to hit the road. Terrafugia’s Transition® Roadable Aircraft needed a special exemption for having special plexiglas windows and landing-capable tires for a road vehicle, and this is the first combined flying-driving vehicle to receive such special consideration from the Department of Transportation. It can be yours for a downpayment of $10,000, with the current total cost of $250,000.

Terrafugia — which is Latin for “escape from land” — says this new flying car combines the unique convenience of being able to fold its wings with the ability to drive on any surface road. You can stow the wings for road use and deploy them for flight at the airport.

See a video below of how it works.

It has a maximum speed of 100 knots (115 mph, 185 km/h), and a range of787 km (490 miles). The easy change-out from airplane to car or car to airplane can be done within the cockpit, allowing pilots to drive in case of inclement weather. You can get a full vehicle parachute, just in case, and it includes many crash safety features found in regular cars.

The Transition on the road. Credit: Terrafugia

No need for renting hanger space at the airport – just park it in your garage. When using it as a car, it is 2 meters (80 inches) tall, 2.3 meters (90 inches) wide and 6 meters (18 feet nine inches) long.
When flying, the Transition is 2 meters tall (78 inches) and 6 meters (19 feet 9 inches) long, with a wingspan of 8 meters (26 feet 6 inches.)

And no need to check your bags. An on-board cargo compartment holds your carry-on luggage and includes enough room for golf clubs.

Find out more at the Terrafugia website.