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Buckle up: ABQ firm hops aboard world’s first commercial flying car

The PAL-V Liberty the worlds first commercial flying car is shown here riding the roads in Europe. Once certified for flight, drivers can unfold the rotors and propellers attached to the vehicles top and back for lift off into the air. (Courtesy of PAL-V via Aspen Avionics)

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — When the world’s first commercial flying car takes to the skies, some homegrown New Mexico gadgetry will help safely guide vehicle pilots from liftoff to landing.

Albuquerque-based Aspen Avionics announced in late March that Dutch company “Personal Air and Land Vehicle,” or PAL-V, has chosen Aspen’s Evolution Flight Display System as the digital cockpit of choice for PAL-V’s “Liberty” car and gyroplane.

Aspen Avionics Evolution Flight Display is shown here on the PAL-V Liberty dashboard. (Courtesy of PAL-V via Aspen Avionics)

PAL-V has been developing the Liberty for some 20 years. It’s a three-wheel car — already certified to ride on European roads — that converts to a gyroplane by folding out its rotors and propellers, which are attached to the roof and back of the car. The company has been flight testing the vehicle since 2012, and expects to achieve flight certification in the next year or two, possibly rolling out the first models for sale sometime in 2022.

Aspen Avionics Evolution Flight Display is shown here on the PAL-V Liberty dashboard. (Courtesy of PAL-V via Aspen Avionics)

Aspen Avionics, a homegrown company that launched in Albuquerque in 2004, builds digital avionics for small commercial and general aviation aircraft. It developed some of the industry’s first digital flight displays as drop-in replacements for aging mechanical gauges and controls. Its GPS-backed digital cockpits offer a full suite of real-time data on things like altitude, air speed and weather, plus navigational data to increase a pilot’s situational and terrain awareness with photo-quality moving maps and traffic displays.

The PAL-V Liberty the worlds first commercial flying car is shown here riding the roads in Europe. Once certified for flight, drivers can unfold the rotors and propellers attached to the vehicles top and back for lift off into the air. (Courtesy of PAL-V, via Aspen Avionics)

“We designed the Evolution product display over 15 years ago,” said Aspen International Regional Sales Manager Cory Relling in a statement. “… With over 20,000 displays installed worldwide, we never imagined that an Aspen primary flight display would be among those installations in the first commercial flying car.”

The PAL-V Liberty the worlds first commercial flying car is shown here. Once certified for flight, drivers can unfold the rotors and propellers attached to the vehicles top and back for lift off into the air. (Courtesy of PAL-V via Aspen Avionics)

PAL-V now plans to include Aspen’s flight display as its digital cockpit standard for all their vehicles, said Aspen president and CEO John Uczekaj.

“We’re very excited and honored to be part of this historic progression in the aviation industry,” Uczekaj told the Journal. “It’s cool and exciting technology.”

Learn more about Aspen Avionics’ growth and future plans in the Journal’s Business Outlook on Monday.


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