The friendly skies could soon get ugly.
America’s flying car, the Terrafugia Transition, has some competition.
From a flying trike.
Dutch startup aero-automaker PAL-V has conducted the first test flights of a three-wheel ‘flying car’ prototype it has been developing for the past several years. The unique vehicle uses a pair folding rotors, one on top and one in the rear, to fly like a gyrocopter and needs a stretch of runway or road just 540 feet long to take off.
According to its creators, the Personal Air and Land Vehicle (hence the name PAL-V) can reach speeds of 110 mph both on the ground and in the air and has a flying range of 350 miles per tank, which more than doubles when being driven.
On the road, the PAL-V actually works more like an enclosed motorcycle than a car, with a mechanical-hydraulic system that allows it to lean into turns. Fuel economy is pegged at 28 mpg in road mode and 9.5 gallons per hour when airborne.
Although similar in concept, the PAL-V differs greatly from the Transition, which operates like an airplane and features large retractable wings to provide lift and a single propeller in the rear. Terrafugia also avoids describing the Transition as a “flying car,” preferring the term “roadable light sport aircraft,” in deference to its primary function.
Don’t worry about having to do any comparison shopping anytime soon, though. While the production version of the Transition is making its car show debut at the New York Auto Show this week, and may go on sale this year for around $297,000, PAL-V is still seeking investors to take its vehicle to the next level.