The PAL-V ONE is a two seat hybrid car and gyroplane: a personal air and land vehicle. What makes the PAL-V ONE attractive is the convenience of fully integrated door-to-door transportation.
On the ground this slim, aerodynamic, 3-wheeled vehicle has the comfort of a car with the agility of a motorcycle thanks to its patented, cutting-edge, ‘tilting’ system. It can be driven to the nearest airfield and take off just like any other airplane. The single rotor and propeller are unfolded to make the PAL-V ONE ready to fly.
When airborne, the PAL-V usually flies below 4,000 feet (1,200 m), the airspace available for uncontrolled Visual Flight Rules (VFR) traffic; so there will be no interference from commercial air traffic. Furthermore, the PAL-V is powered by a very robust, flight certified aircraft engine. It runs on gasoline. It can reach speeds of up to 180 km/h (112 mph) both on land and in the air.
The PAL-V ONE has a very short take off and landing capability, making it possible to land practically anywhere. When not using controlled airspace, you can take off without filing a flight plan. Flying a PAL-V is like a standard gyrocopter. It is quieter than helicopters due to the slower rotation of the main rotor. It takes off and lands with low speed, cannot stall, and is very easy to control. The gyroplane technology means that it can be steered and landed safely even if the engine fails, because the rotor keeps auto rotating.
PAL-V combination technology
The PAL-V has been designed as a tandem configuration to minimize aerodynamic drag for efficient flight. To reach this goal, -a slender, aerodynamically-shaped vehicle was built. For road use, however, a slender vehicle is not very stable. Therefore the PAL-V ONE combines gyroplane technology with the DVC™ tilting technology. The change-over from flying to driving and vice versa requires three technologies to make it possible to be narrow and short enough to drive on the road.
Foldable rotor: The rotor blades are folded in half and fixed above the roof of the vehicle. PAL-V Europe NV has patented this unique folding principle. The outside of the rotor blades folds over the inside. The two together are hinged above the vehicle.
Telescoping tail: The tail section slides forward to shorten it. It also covers the propeller for increased safety.
Foldable propeller: The propeller folds into a narrow “road” configuration which enables the tail section to slide over the propeller, for driving.
By combining other innovative design strategies, reductions in both weight and cost are realized i.e.:
- The engine used for driving the vehicle is also used for powering the propeller.
- Most of the controls are used in both modes but switched in functionality.
- A state-of-the-art, multi-function display is used in the cockpit to give the pilot/driver all needed information.
Juan de la Cierva, a Spanish engineer and aeronautical enthusiast, invented the first successful rotorcraft, which he named ‘autogiro’ in 1923. His aim was to create an aircraft that was the safest in the world because it could not stall.
Principle of operation
A gyroplane, like a helicopter,is a rotary winged aircraft – which means it has a rotor to provide lift instead of fixed wings like conventional airplanes. Unlike a helicopter, the gyrocopter rotor is not powered by the engine. It is rotated by aerodynamic forces through a phenomenon called autorotation. Since the rotor is not powered, a gyroplane needs a separate source for propulsion, just like an airplane. Forward motion comes from an engine driving a propeller.
What causes the rotor to spin, or “autorotate?” The simple explanation is that the wind passing through it gives it power. Think of seed pods that spin as they fall from a tree. As they fall, the air makes them spin.
A gyroplane, also known as gyrocopter or autogyro, has the same controls as a fixed wing aircraft. The pitch of the gyroplane is controlled by tilting the rotor fore and aft; roll is controlled by tilting the rotor laterally (side to side). The tilt of the rotor is actuated by a rotating hub that moves on two axis. Yaw control is done with a rudder, just like a conventional fixed-wing airplane.
Steer it like a car and it banks like a motorcycle. It sounds deceptively simple, and it truly is! At the heart of the PAL-V lies the Dynamic Vehicle Control (DVC™) system which automatically adjusts the tilt angle of the vehicle to its speed and acceleration, enabling a plane-like ’tilting while cornering’ performance.
The driver’s input via steering torque is distributed between the front wheel steering angle and the vehicle tilting angle. This distribution is automatically adjusted to varying speeds and road conditions to ensure an optimal balance at all times. At lower speeds, the steering torque is directed to the front wheel angle and the passenger compartment remains upright. At higher speeds the steering torque is mainly directed to the tilt angle of the cockpit.
The genius of the DVC™ technology is in its simplicity: essentially a mechanical-hydraulic system. It relies on proven technology resulting in a reliable responsive, and above all, extremely safe steering system.
With the PAL-V ONE, tilting in corners becomes second nature.