It is a typical child’s dream: "If only I had a car that could fly!" And it is no coincidence that a Brabant company is turning this dream into reality. The story of PAL-V's flying car is also the story of its designer: Chris Klok.
As a six-year-old boy, Chris Klok dreamed about creating new things. He made these dreams come true, by building a remote-controlled boat and a lighting system for his bedroom. "I love creating something out of nothing," he says.
Given free reign
He even discovered that there was a university program for kids like him: Industrial Design at TU Delft. His enormous design talent started to blossom as soon as he was given free reign. "I always strive to connect technical possibilities to the real needs of people, and then surprise them,” says Chris. “Because wonder and amazement are priceless.” After his studies, Chris designed car interiors and developed motorcycles. Then, in 2008, he was asked if he wanted to help design the world's first flying car. The six-year-old boy immediately surfaced: "This was and is my dream job."
A driver’s license and a pilot’s license required
The Liberty Pioneer and Liberty Sport are a cross between a three-wheeled car and a gyrocopter. They can travel up to 160 kilometres an hour on the road and in the sky. You must take off at an airport (your starting track must be 165 meters long), and of course you need both a driver's license and a pilot’s license. The Liberty Sport costs 299,000 Euros, and the Liberty Pioneer costs 499,000 Euros (including a tailored interior). The first delivery is scheduled for the end of 2018.
A Brabant company
The fact that the PAL-V was developed by a Brabant company (located in Raamsdonksveer, The Netherlands) is no coincidence. Brabant is an innovative, enterprising and successful region in Europe with an attractive investment climate (and living and business climate). In Brabant, businesses, knowledge institutions and governments work together on smart innovations that provide real solutions. A bold approach to knowledge-sharing and technology makes Brabant strong.
The PAL-V proves that people in Brabant dare to think unconventionally and expand boundaries, realizing that you can only be successful if you collaborate (a company in Bergeijk produced the prototype chassis). Chris Klok also praises Brabant: "We began as a start-up company with five people, and now fifty people work here. Many of our colleagues moved to Brabant for the PAL-V – it is an open environment with welcoming people. That inspires us."
Don’t just dream
There are other companies that design flying cars. How did PAL-V succeed in developing theirs? "Anybody can make beautiful animations," says Chris Kolk. "We focus on the actual technology needed to make this type of car. We are doers. We test the parts and perform the calculations ourselves. And we only focus on what is achievable. If you go too far, things can go wrong. And you should not just dream…but do. That's how we realized this child's dream."