Terrafugia’s Transition, the world’s first flying plane available to the consumer market, is headed to the New York Auto Show looking to cash in on the as-yet non-pilot market. And another, Holland’s PAL-V One, has logged its first successful flight and is searching for investors.
The PAL-V One took its maiden flight in March and all went smoothly, reports show. It’s a two-seat three-wheeler that’s one part car, one part gyrocopter with a rotor and propeller that can be deployed for flying, then folded away for driving. It typically flies below 4,000 feet, the airspace available for uncontrolled Visual Flight Rules (VFR) traffic. That means pilots/drivers can operate the PAL-V One with no interference from commercial air traffic and won’t be required to submit a flight plan. Speed tops out at just over 110 miles per hour on land and in the air, and it can fly for up to 315 miles depending on the onboard weight. It has short takeoff and landing capability, making it possible to land just about anywhere – no crazy stretch of runway space necessary.
As with seemingly all things Dutch, the PAL-V One sports a sleek, sexy style that makes it look and drive a bit more like a motorcycle than a sedan on the road.
“It is dynamic without being overbearing and delivers elegance rather than extravagance,” the website boasts.
Frankly, we here at E3 Spark Plugs agree. That sexy styling just might give the PAL-V One an edge over Terrafugia’s Transition, which kind of screams “airport shuttle,” style-wise. But you’ll have to wait a while. The PAL-V makers are still looking for investors to help bring it to mass production, while Terrafugia is already taking orders for the Transition, marketing it at a base $279,000 with a variety of equipment options. Plus, with room for your golf clubs and a tablet computer compatible glove box, the Transition wins in the practicality category.
In fact, “We’ve noticed in our order backlog there are actually a fair number of people who are not currently pilots who are putting deposits down to order a Transition,” said Terrafugia’s Richard Dingemanse. Ergo, the New York Auto Show gig.
So, which one would you drop a few hundred grand to buy: The sleek, stylish PAL-V One or the more practical (and near-readily available) Transition? Post your thoughts on the E3 Spark Plugs Facebook fan page. And if you go the New York Auto show this weekend, be sure to post your pics too.