What about safety?
The PAL-V ONE is being developed using the latest technology from the aerospace and automotive industries. In the air, the underlying gyroplane technology guarantees a stable flying platform that supports safe landing even in the event of a total engine failure. On the road, the PAL-V has the excitement of a motorcycle while offering enhanced safety because the driver is in an enclosed compartment. The PAL-V ONE is certified using the EASA (Europe) and FAR (USA) standards.
Will regulators allow the use of PAL-V’s?
The PAL-V ONE is designed within current certification and regulations frameworks for the vast majority of countries in the world. No rules or regulations need to be changed to be allowed to use the vehicle.
Why is this possible now?
For many decades people have been dreaming of a flying car to enable fast and easy door to door transportation. The attractiveness of the “flying car” has motivated many creative people to find solutions. At www.roadabletimes.com
you will find numerous examples dating back to 1919! So, why can’t we buy one today? There are several reasons for this:
- Aerodynamics. Some designs just cannot work because they violate basic aerodynamic principles.
- Mechanical stability: An aircraft requires a relatively high center of gravity. This does not work well while cornering.
- Construction and weight. Some designs were too heavy to allow for flying, or needed delicate wing folding technologies that were too vulnerable to damage.
- Legislation. It is very difficult to design a vehicle that can be certified for flying and driving. Safety regulations are the main challenge.
Why is the gyroplane concept chosen?
Advantages (compared to a conventional airplane):
- Safety! Contrary to fixed-wing airplanes, it can not stall!
- In turbulent air it still flies smoothly with excellent stability due to its high rotor speed.
- Because a gyroplane can fly so slow that it needs very little space to land. It can have a take-off distance from only 50 to 200 m.
- Wide speed range, with a low minimum speed (from 50 km/h up to 180 km/h).
Disadvantages (compared to a conventional airplane):
- A gyroplane has higher drag, so maximum speed and range are lower.
- A gyroplane costs only about 10% in cost of ownership compared to a helicopter, yet can accomplish 90% of what a helicopter can do. Unlike a helicopter however, a gyroplane cannot hover and take off or land vertically.
What happens when more PAL-V’s take to the sky?
As in the early days of automotive transportation it was no problem that stop signs, traffic rules and organized roads with on- and-off ramps did not exist. The same applies to the early days of PAL-Vs. Rules and regulations other than those currently in place under the International Civil Aviation Organization(ICAO) will not hinder the first PAL-Vs. The moment the PAL-Vs become widely available and start to see competitors take to the sky as well, a more structured use of airways will be called for. The necessary technology to accomplish this is already available and uses technology similar to those in GPS-based car navigation systems(2). This Highways In The Sky (HITS) program is being developed by NASA and enables flying vehicles to follow virtual corridors, complete with on-and-off ramps.
If necessary, this system can be complimented by omni-directional radar to prevent collisions. Since airplanes use 3D space instead of the (almost-) 1D space (roads) that cars have to use, it is expected that it will take quite some time until the PAL-V density in the sky hits any significant level. Also, in Europe various programs are in place and subsidized to prepare for a much higher density of air traffic due to personal air vehicles.
Is it possible to take off and land everywhere?
No. Apart from the fact that this is not allowed by law, the PAL-V needs a space measuring about 200 by 30 meters without surrounding obstacles to take off and land. In practice all small airports, aerodromes, glider sites and/or ultralight airfields will suffice. The PAL-V can operate from either concrete or grass airstrips. As the PAL-V popularity increases, it is expected that more and more small uncontrolled airstrips will be created.
Do I need a license to fly the PAL-V?
Yes, you certainly need a license to fly. To be able to operate an airplane you will need some basic understanding of Navigation, Instruments, Meteorology, Aerodynamics and Performance. All pilots of aircraft need training and the PAL-V is no exception. Although every effort is made to make sure that the PAL-V is easy to control, you will need practical training to operate this rotorcraft safely. To acquire a license you have to pass a theoretical exam (Recreational Pilot License or RPL or PPL) and have a reasonable amount of training with an instructor and as single pilot (solo) to learn to fly a gyroplane. The gyroplane license can usually be obtained within 20 to 40 hours of training, depending on skill and talent, regulations per country and previous aviation experience. In Europe, to acquire the PPL (or RPL) you will need to pass a medical check as well (Medical Certificate Class II). The cost of training for a license varies in each country but in general about 5000 EUR should be enough to get you the license.
Will it be possible to take of from the highway?
Taking off from the highway is not allowed at present and most probably will not be for good reasons. For your safety and the safety of others it very important that take-off and landing takes place at designated (short) strips. For landing 50 meters (150 feet) and for takeoff 200 meters (600 feet) is usually enough. Creating such an airstrip is not very costly. The only exception may be very rural areas in places like Australia and Africa.
For more densely populated countries, in the future there will be a network of small airstrips near recreational areas along the highway could lead to a much denser infrastructure. The ministry of Traffic in the Netherlands has started testing this concept in anticipation of the arrival of PAL-Vs in traffic. See movie (Link to movie ministry tests PAL-V ports).
Will such a “flying car” receive certification for road and sky?
The PAL-V ONE is designed within existing certification requirements on the road as well as in the sky. For flying, CS-27 (Europe) and FAR-27 (USA) are the standards on which the Type Certificate is based. For driving, the road legislation directives of the European Commission and National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) standards are used. The PAL-V prototype confirmed that the PAL-V ONE can be built to meet these standards without exemptions.
For other questions please contact us.