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2012-04-04 09:30

TAKING TO THE SKIES: Is it a flying car or a driving aircraft, either way we're intrigued. Gallery!

THE HAGUE, Holland - We've just told you about a US company testing its new street-legal plane called the Transition. Now a Dutch company hopes to get its share of airspace with a new model designed for both road use and flight.

The Personal Air and Land Vehicle (PAL-V) is a gyrocopter capable of a flight range of as much as 500km at an altitude of up to 1200m. The horizontal rotors are used for elevation but unlike a helicopter however, the PAL-V cannot hover or take off and land vertically. The rotors blades can be stowed away for road use.

NO TEDIOUS TRAFFIC

When it lands it tucks away its rotor blades and turns into a street-legal, three-wheeler with a claimed range of 1200km after refuellinlg. The PAL-V is capable of 160kW and can rocket from 0-100km in eight seconds. The new model has a fuel consumption of 8.3 litres/100km.

The PAL-V seems like the perfect vehicle to escape tedious terrestrial traffic but there is a hitch - it requires 165m of runway to take off, 30m to land and must use an airfield - not the open road.

Robert Dingemanse, chief executive of PAL-V, said: "In future you will be able to drive from home to the airfield, take off, land and then drive to your destination.

"The successful maiden flight of the PAL-V prototype was conducted at a Dutch Air Force base in March."

The arrow-shaped PAL-V, in development since 2008, is expected to go commercial in 2014 at R2.5-million a pop.

Jacco Hoekstra, dean of the aerospace faculty at Delft Technical University, said: "It will revolutionise the era of personal air travel. Until now air travel was mainly based on public transport. Now it will become a lot more personal - you will simply be able to walk out of your front door, drive to a small airfield, and fly away."

PAL-V One specifications:

Capacity - two passengers
Mass - 680kg (empty) to 910kg (gross)
Power - 160kW
Dimensions (rotor folded) - 4m x 1.6m x 1.6 m

ROAD PERFORMANCE
Maximum speed - 180km/h
0-100km/h - 8sec
Fuel economy: 8.3-litres/100km
Range: 1200km

FLIGHT PERFORMANCE
Maximum speed - 180km/h
Minimum speed for level flight - 50km/h
Take-off roll - 165m
Landing roll - 30m
Fuel economy - 36 litres/hour
Range - Maximum 500km

Watch the video below:


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