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 |  Apr 02 2012, 4:01 PM

Riding on the heels of April 1, better known as April Fool’s Day, it’s harder than steel to believe that the PAL-V Flying Car is more than an elaborate hoax, but against our better judgement it seems like it might be real.

Based on the detail-rich site and video footage, we’re reluctantly ready to say that the outlandish three-wheel helicopter-mobile you see above might actually be more than a joke. Still, don’t expect a first drive or review any time soon. The PAL-V Flying Car functions as both a road vehicle and a helicopter which would make licensing complicated and ownership difficult.

Few people would possess the qualifications to use such a thing (we say thing because it’s not really a car).

Still, the Dutch company seems committed to both selling its product and authorizing customers to use it. The site has section that puts customers in touch with flight schools. In a press release it also claims that licensing to fly only takes about 20 to 30 hours.

Pricing isn’t available yet, but if there’s any truth to any of this it seems the U.S. government is already preparing for increased air traffic from vehicles like this.

A single passenger vehicle, the flying car can reach top speeds of around 110 mph on land and in the air, with a flying range of about 220 to 315 miles depending on wind conditions.

On the ground it’s said to drive — and accelerate, like a sports car thanks to its three-wheel setup and leaning capability that make it feel like a car-motorcycle hybrid.

Watch the video footage of its maiden flight below.

Continue Reading…

 |  Aug 17 2011, 10:00 AM

The zany ZAZ takes to the skies! Ex-pilot Valery Bulgakov turned this 1987 ZAZ Tavria into an airworthy flying machine, through hard work, acres of sheetmetal, and lofty Russian ingenuity.

ZAZ cranked out thousands of Tavrias in the 1980s and 1990s, and aside from a few examples that must have been thrown off a cliff under various circumstances, none of them ever offered spacious aerial views. But Bulgakov welded wings onto the front fenders and rear windows, installing ailerons and painting them in patriotic Russian colors in order to tackle the skies: the flying car (of the future) can get up to 10 feet in the air, for a distance of 600 feet.

While this is a bit off from even, say, the efforts of the Kalinin K-7, Bulgakov doesn’t expect his car—which goes 0-60 in an FAA-unapproved 20 seconds—to revolutionize transportation. He uses the vehicle to train aspiring pilots: and given their familiarity with car controls, seems like a natural progression before tackling the challenges of the Yak-130.

Click the jump to see the flying Tavria in action. Translator not included, however.

[Source: Discovery Channel]

Continue Reading…

 |  Jul 06 2010, 8:43 PM

Go from the roads to the friendly skies in one fell swoop in the Terrafugia Transition roadable aircraft. The first of its kind, the Transition can make the transition from the road to the sky, offering its owners the ultimate in convenience.

And now, with a recent weight exemption approved by the Federal Aviation Administration, the Transition is one step closer to your driveway. Allowed an extra 110 pounds of weight, it has a maximum takeoff weight of 1,430 pounds. This is the same weight allowance made for aircraft designed to operate on water. It falls into the Light Sport Aircraft category, and other planes in the class are limited to a maximum takeoff weight of 1,320 pounds.

The reason for the extra weight, according to Anna Dietrich, Terrafugia’s chief operating officer, is due to its safety features. Since it’s designed to be on the road, it’s going to need equipment not found in other light aircraft. These features include a protective safety cage, airbags and an energy absorbing crumple zone.

Planes that hold the light sport aircraft designation can carry two people, and the pilot has to have a Sport Pilot certificate, which requires 20 hours of flight training. “There are actually programs that you can do in about two weeks,” said Dietrich. “You can take a couple weeks off of work and come home a pilot, so it’s a very accessible, very exciting way of getting into aviation and giving yourself that additional freedom and flexibility.”

Taking about the same amount of time as putting down a convertible top, the Transition goes from car to plane in mere moments, and all the magic takes place from within the cockpit. When it’s time to land and head home, the wings fold up and you drive off.

You can own the Transition for $194,000 in about 18 months, and you can bet that the commute to work will be a lot quicker.

[Source: CNN]