New flying car readies to hit the skies, streets

Flying cars seem to be gaining traction as a popular idea, with a new flying car making its public debut at the world's biggest airshow in Oshkosh, Wisconsin. The PD2 from PlaneDriven is a modification of a Glasair Sportsman kit airplane with the addition of a separate 50-horsepower "drive unit" attached to the back.

The manufacturer describes the PD2 as being "designed to perform as an aircraft first and a car second." One look at the design and you can tell that for sure.

The "drive unit" looks like it's little more than part of a large go-kart (go-kart) attached to a fixed hard point on fuselage, though the manufacturer claims the PD2 can hit speeds of up to 73 mph on the highway. They describe it as performing like a mid-1960s Beetle (which is an awfully specific description isn't it?) — and based on the video below, it sounds a lot like one, too.

You probably won't be using the vehicle to cover long distances on the road, but the transition to flying is simple. You just fold up the wings and place the drive unit in the back seat. The video on the PlaneDriven website shows the PD2 as being a serviceable small aircraft in flight.

It's likely the PD2 won't be giving the Terrafugia flying car competition from the standpoint of futuristic looks or performance. The Terrafugia is purpose-built as a true combination of airplane and car, meaning you don't pick up a driving unit before hitting the skies.

It looks like where the PD2 from PlaneDriven is looking to find its market is from the kit community — the Glasair Plane part of the vehicle is already an amateur kit plane, so there is additional modification needed for the wheelbase and wings, along with the drive unit from the folks at PlaneDriven.

The target cost is $60,000 (considerably cheaper than the Terrafugia), and the PlaneDriven team says the vehicle can be licensed as a three-wheeled motorcycle in most states and can be driven by those who are appropriately certified. It goes without saying you'll need a pilot's license as well.

For more information and several videos of the PD2 in action in the air and on the ground the PlaneDriven website has it all.

FlyingMag, via PopSci

For the latest tech stories, follow DVICE on Twitter
at @dvice or find us on Facebook