The American people have been promised flying cars, along with jet packs, ray guns, and cold fusion, since at least the end of World War II. Over the years there have been countless attempts to make a commercially viable flying car. The most successful was the short-lived Aerocar, but for the most part flying cars have either been vaporware or unfortunate disasters. Now, a Dutch developer has what they claim is the first commercially viable flying car.

According to Flying Magazine, PAL-V announced this week that its long awaited Liberty flying car is now on sale, with deliveries expected by the end of 2018. In development for roughly fifteen years now, the Liberty first took to the air way back in 2012. The Liberty is a compact, three-wheeled, fully enclosed gyrocopter powered by a Rotax-based dual-propulsion drivetrain that runs on regular pump gas. The 100-horsepower Rotax can propel the little vehicle along the ground at 100 miles per hour or through the air at speeds up to 110 mph with a maximum altitude of 11,480 feet. It can carry two people, the pilot and one passenger, in relative comfort, and requires between 5-10 minutes to convert between modes.

Despite how lovely and easy PAL-V's website makes owning and flying the Liberty sound, you're not going to be able to just saunter down to the local dealer and fly one away. First, potential Liberty owners in the European Union or United Kingdom will need to have a gyroplane operator's license. There is no word on US requirements, but flying a Liberty will probably require at least a sports pilot license. Then there's the price. The standard Liberty Sport starts at $399,000, twice as much as a used Cessna 172 and almost ten times as much as a Piper Cherokee. The chichi limited edition Liberty Pioneer, of which only 92 will be made, clocks in at an eye-watering $599,000. For your money you do get some training along with your sweet new flying car, along with a list of cryptic options that includes "power heating".

Whether or not the Liberty ushers in a golden age of Jetsons-style commuting remains to be seen. As stated earlier, a whole lot of dreamers have tried and failed to make flying cars a reality. This one at least exists and flies though, so who knows? Maybe if the Liberty is successful I'll finally get my jet pack and ray gun.

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