Just 18 months after its maiden voyage, the Pal-V One flying car can finally be yours – if you have a spare $295,999 (£180,000) that is.
Technically it’s not a car – it’s a three-wheeled motorcyle that transforms into a gyrocopter – but it is legal to drive, and fly, and switches between modes in just 10 minutes.
The Dutch-built Pal-V One can reach speeds of up to 112mph and goes from 0 to 60 in under 8 seconds when driven on the road.
Owners will need a Sports Pilot Certificate to fly one.
The two-seater vehicle is on sale in the 2013 Hammacher Schemmler catalogue under the name The Helicycle, yet its design and specifications are identical to the Pal-V One’s.
Like many flying car prototypes, including the TF-X from Austin-based Terrafugia, the Pal-V needs a 540ft runway in order to take-off.
When in flight mode, the vehicle looks like a helicopter, however, it is known as a gyrocopter or autogyro because the main power comes from the rotors at the rear of the vehicle.
Its rotors spin considerably slower than a helicopter’s blades, too, and can’t stall.
On the ground, the machine handles somewhere between a motorbike and a racing car – its chassis is built to lean into turns, and the two-seater can reach speeds of up to 112mph.
Unlike most fictional flying cars, of course, it can’t just extend its rotors then hurtle skywards – the process takes about ten minutes.
Once the engine stops, the propeller folds itself automatically into the driving position. Pushing a button then lowers the rotor mast into the horizontal position.
Rotor blades and tail have to be stowed away by the driver.
‘On the ground the vehicle drives like a sports car,’ said Pal-V. ‘Within minutes its rotor is unfolded and its tail is extended: then it is ready to take off thanks to the advanced gyrocopter technology.’
‘With these successful test results it is proven that it is not only possible to build a flying car but also that it can be done within existing international rules for both flying and driving.’
The Pal-V One features a 230hp, four-cylinder engine powered by petrol.
Its 27 gallon tank means pilots can fly for up to 220 miles at low altitudes – around 4,000ft – or drive for up 750 miles.
It is made of carbon fiber, titanium, and aluminum and weighs 1,500lbs.