First Commercially Feasible Flying Car by PAL-V
Manufacturing Before Approval Might Cause Problems
Entrepreneurs, by definition, have a different risk profile. The recent contretemps between the UAS industry (particularly operators) and the FAA is a prime example of the regulated and regulator’s different perspectives. Clearly, the flying car innovators are excited about taking off.
This disruptive technology will challenge the FAA and EASA as to the certification of the bimodal vehicles. As to that regulatory test, the definition of standards, particularly with the new Part 23, has a template for the airworthiness of these cars of the road as they operate in the airspace. But is it simultaneous ground-worthiness?
However, the question of how to control and separate these aircars when they lift off has no easy answers. In fact, given past difficulties dealing with transformative ideas in the air traffic control domain, it is not beyond possibility that the response could be delayed for a long, long time or even a negative one. Certainly, the regulated who badly need an answer, have been known to get a bad answer.
In spite of all that imprecatory history, PAL-V International B.V., a company which has designed the “first commercially feasible flying car,” christened its production facility in the Netherlands. As soon as the equipment and procedures are in place, manufacturing will begin.
Robert Dingemanse CEO announced, “Most parts are ordered for the first machines and the first are in house, we will commence construction with an eye on deliveries to our first global clients in 2018 in to 2019.” That is the optimism characteristic of an organization which has a lead over its competitors, present and potential. That’s a BOLD statement considering that a relatively routine certification can consume 12 to 18 months, plus it may be difficult to fly these aircraft without any ATC regulations in place (or the technology needed to track them from the ground into the national airspace system).
The regulatory hurdle was probably discussed in a meeting with the European Aviation agency when EASA visited the PAL-V headquarters to review the project. The European Safety organization will set requirements for the design (Type Certificate) and for the QC/QA during manufacture (Production Certificate) before the approval to fly an individual vehicle (Airworthiness Certificate) can be issued.
By designing and beginning to produce these aircraft which have no precedent, the company has reversed the usual order of these tasks— approval usually precedes manufacture. If EASA and/or FAA identifies problems with the proposed vehicle, PAL-V will have to retro correct design, parts manufactured and aircraft assembled. That would be very expensive to do if so mandated and will delay deliveries.
That’s the risk curve of entrepreneurs!!!
The PAL-V Liberty would be world’s first EASA certified gyroplane meeting these standards, another world premiere for the PAL-V Liberty. That is a big IF.