Placeholder Image

Subtitles section Play video

  • Pretty much since the day the car and the airplane coexisted people have dreamed of

  • combining them into one all purpose, go-anywhere, do-anything vehicle. Flying cars are emblematic

  • of a future sci-fi world but a practical one that anybody can buy and fly has never materialized.

  • Now one company in the Netherlands thinks they've cracked the design, and their production

  • version is officially road legal in Europe. There's a lot of reasons cars and airplanes

  • have yet to join forces. They have very different needs. Needs like the number of wheels. The

  • four wheels on a car distribute its weight and provide traction and stability. A 3-wheeled

  • car is much more likely to roll when taking a turn at high speeds. But airplanes have

  • 3 wheels because when they're on the ground they don't need to take turns at speed,

  • so a 4th wheel would just be unnecessary weight. Tricycle wheel arrangements are also better

  • suited to landing in crosswinds. Aircraft also have other needs like, oh yeah,

  • wings. Whether they're fixed wings like an airliner or rotary wings like a helicopter,

  • to generate enough lift they have to be much larger than the constraints freeway lanes

  • and parking spaces would allow. So most designs for flying cars have wings that are either

  • detachable or collapsable. If they're detachable, they need to be towed behind the car in a

  • trailer or left at the airfield. If they're collapsible, the design of the car has to

  • find a place to put them. The more you dig into the idea, the more of a headache it becomes.

  • That hasn't stopped some people from trying, and now one Dutch company, PAL-V, thinks their

  • Liberty design can solve all these problems and make flying cars a practical reality.

  • Starting with the undercarriage, which PAL-V credits as their main breakthrough. The company

  • was looking for a three-wheeled design that could still be stable when turning at normal

  • road-going speeds. In 2005, they discovered the work of another Dutch company, Carver,

  • which made 3-wheeled cars that tilted like motorcycles. A hydraulic tilting system like

  • that could eliminate the need for a 4th wheel and also be useful to raise the whole vehicle

  • up, giving it ground clearance for a rear-facing propeller.

  • Then there was the matter of generating lift. Fixed wing aircraft need air to move over

  • their wings fast enough to stay aloft, otherwise they'll stall. A fixed wing flying car has

  • to compromise the size and shape of its wings in the name of practicality, meaning its risk

  • of stalling is higher. So PAL-V chose a rotary design instead, but rather than make

  • their flying car a helicopter, they decided it should be an autogyro, also known as a gyrocopter.

  • If you don't know the difference it's easy to confuse the two. But unlike a helicopter

  • which has a rotor powered by an engine, the rotor of an autogyro is unpowered in flight.

  • Instead the air flowing over it causes it to spin and generate lift. The rotating blades

  • means an autogyro cannot stall, and because they're unpowered engine failure doesn't

  • spell total disaster. Landing an autogyro with no engine is the same process as landing

  • one with an engine. Without one providing forward thrust the autogyro can't climb,

  • but it can still descend steadily and under full control.

  • Still to be safe, the Liberty has two engines powering a pusher propeller for forward thrust

  • in case one fails. Autogyros also have short takeoff and landing requirements, so setting

  • one down in an emergency is less dangerous than in a fixed-wing aircraft that needs a

  • longer strip of clear land. PAL-V's flying car seems to tick all the

  • boxes. There's a minimal amount of labor required to convert it between road- and sky-going

  • configurations, but the relative safety of the autogyro design and the tilting cornering

  • on 3 wheels make it the gadget to end all gadgets. Forget a sports car, nothing will

  • impress a date like picking them up in a tilting whirligig of Dutch engineering. The Liberty

  • received road certification in Europe in October of 2020, bringing flying cars one-step closer

  • to reality. They hope to deliver to their first customers starting in 2022.

  • So if you had the money, would you buy this car? Let us know in the comments. When my

  • co-workers at Seeker asked me that my answer was a resounding, “heck yeah!” People

  • have not only been strapping wings to cars, but rockets and jet engines too. Check out

  • this video on one rocket-powered car designed to break the sound barrier. Thanks for watching,

  • don't forget to subscribe, and I'll see you next time on Seeker!

Pretty much since the day the car and the airplane coexisted people have dreamed of

Subtitles and vocabulary

Operation of videos Adjust the video here to display the subtitles

B2 flying flying car design tilting pal fixed

The World's First Commercially Available Flying Car Is Here And It's Legal

  • 96 2
    Summer posted on 2020/12/10
Video vocabulary