There’s no shortage of entrepreneurs and snake oil salesmen promising the roll-out of personal flying vehicles despite the inherent dangers present in selling such vehicles to the general public. Joining the likes of the Moller Skycar and X-Hawk flying vehicles comes the PAL-V (Personnel Air Vehicle) from Dutch inventor John Bakker. The project has been in development for the past six years and recently received financial backing from several private investors, allowing Bakker to promise delivery of the first customer cars by 2011 with a price tag of €100,000.
Bakker’s design features an aerodynamically shaped three-wheel body sporting a tilting rotor blade set-up that folds away when the vehicle is used on land. The PAL-V is said to be able to travel up to 1,500m, which is just under the limit for commercial air space.
Power comes from a conventional petrol or biodiesel internal combustion engine and top speed is a claimed 200km/h on land and in the air. Because of the helicopter-style rotor blade design, the PAL-V will be able to take off and land in any area with a suitable clearing or it can be driven to the nearest airfield or helipad when used in congested areas. A gyroscope positioning system means has been in case of engine failure. This will cause the vehicle to fall vertically instead of nose-diving, creating enough force to spin the blades and support the vehicle until landing.
Though the design sounds promising, we’re yet to see any serious working prototype from Bakker or any other manufacturer that has promised a practical flying car.