Dutch plan audacious flying tricycle

One wheel short of a flying car

We don't quite know how this one originally got past us (rest assured an internal investigation is as we speak hunting the guilty parties), but we just learned that the Dutch have since last year been quietly working on a bold flying tricycle project - not quite the flying car we were promised but representing roughly 75 per cent of that long-awaited vehicle.

That flying Dutch tricycle in fullYes indeed, bring on the PALV - a personal air and land three-wheeler promising a "solution to increasing congestion in our cities, highways and skyways". According to the blurb, private flying will soon "no longer be the exclusive domain of executives and celebrities. If congestion or obstacles block the destination – fly".

Ah yes, it fair sets the heart a-pumping just thinking about the personal fly-drive option. Here's more:

Like a helicopter, [the PALV] has a Very Short Take Off and Vertical Landing (VSTOVL) capability making it possible to land practically anywhere. It can be driven to the nearest airfield or helipad and, because it flies below 4,000 feet, can take off without filing a flight plan. The autogyro technology means that it can be steered and landed safely even if the engine fails as it descends vertically rather than nose-diving. Lift is generated by the forward speed produced by the foldable push propeller on the back.

Hold on a minute... Autogyro technology? We seem to recall a bit of a kerfuffle back in 1967 when Q unpacked Little Nellie - at that time considered at the very cutting edge of Blofeld-busting technology. Sadly, and despite Little Nellie's impressive specs including rocket launchers and aerial mines, the autogyro concept failed to catch on in big way with the commuting public.

And as for the claim that the PALV "can be steered and landed safely even if the engine fails as it descends vertically rather than nose-diving", well, you'd probably want to rewrite that last bit before printing it in a glossy sales brochure.

The PALV does, nonetheless, offer at least one innovation - its "patented cutting-edge ‘tilting’ system". This allows a ground-based tilt of up to 30°, a vast improvement on the Reliant Robin which, although capable of a 45° tilt, could only accomplish this on two wheels and shortly before rolling into the nearest ditch.

In summary: good try, but where's our bloody flying car? ®

PALV specs: Performance on land

  • Top speed: >125 mph
  • 0 – 60 mph: < 5 sec
  • Max tilting angle: 30°
  • Range: 375 miles

Performance in the air

  • Max airspeed: 120 mph
  • Min airspeed: 18 mph
  • Take off distance: 165 ft
  • Min landing distance: 16 ft
  • Range: 340 miles

Vital stats

  • Engine power output: 213 hp
  • Weight: 1200 LBS
  • Length: 13.12 ft
  • Width: 3.94 ft
  • Height: 5.25 ft

Bootnote

Thanks to three-wheel enthusiast Gavin Campbell for the heads-up.

And speaking of flying cars...

Brit flying car earns its wings
Brits roll out jam-busting airtaxi
Briton invades France in amphibious car
Flying car less likely than flying pig
Flying car more economical than SUV
Swiss set to unleash flying car
Reader flak brings down flying car
Wright Brothers' centenary provokes aviation speculationfest
Indian flying car shot down - Israeli rival soars
India to levitate flying car
Flights of fantasy
Skycar crashes and burns?
So, where is my flying car?
Where's my flying car?

Sponsored: Driving business with continuous operational intelligence