Pegasus E Is an Innovative Helicopter-Car Hybrid That Aims To Reduce Traffic Congestion

Pegasus E helicopter-car hybrid 14 photos
Photo: Pegasus Aerospace Corp
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A few years ago, the idea of flying cars seemed like it belonged in a distant future, but now, seeing how far technology has come in every regard, the dream of getting to work in your flying car is no longer outside the bounds of reality. Actually, several companies are already striving to turn those sci-fi dreams into reality. 
One of them is Pegasus Aerospace Corp, an Australian company that has blended automotive and aviation technologies to revolutionize urban mobility with a new type of hybrid personal transportation vehicle that combines the functionalities of a car and an aircraft. Called the Pegasus E, their innovative vehicle is basically a mini-helicopter that you can also drive on the road.

Founded in 2009 by Michael Walton Yang in Melbourne, Victoria, the company has since moved its design, production, and sales headquarters to Las Vegas, Nevada, and is now crowdfunding its helicopter-car hybrid (HeliCar), which combines the capabilities of vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) aircraft with the unmatched convenience of a car.

The Pegasus E drivable flying car was first presented as a three-wheeled prototype in 2013. In 2021, it transitioned to a four-wheeler pre-production model, and in 2023, it received a Certificate of Airworthiness from the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) of Australia. The company plans to also obtain certification from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) in the United States in the near future.

Pegasus E helicopter\-car hybrid
Photo: Pegasus Aerospace Corp
Touted as the "world's only true VTOL-capable drivable flying car," the Pegasus E has fixed quadricycle road wheels that also act as landing gear, a 120 kW/160 hp Pegasus 800 engine, batteries, and electric motors, combining petrol-powered flight with battery-powered driving. It stands out from other VTOLs through its ability to seamlessly transition from driving on the road to flying through the skies and back, all without relying on a runway for take-off or landing. The Pegasus E can lift off from pavement, grass, and gravel, and the whole process is said to take only three seconds.

Another aspect that differentiates it from other vertical take-off and landing vehicles is its hybrid power system that uses electric power for traveling on highways and high-octane gasoline for flight. This innovative power system promises to offer a flight range of over three hours (equivalent to 420 km or 260 miles), which is significantly better than the average 35-minute range offered by electric VTOL (eVTOL) passenger drones. Besides reducing range anxiety, this extended range makes Pegasus E suitable for broader applications beyond the personal transportation segment, such as traffic management, logistics, emergency services, or border control.

The designers' aim with this helicopter-car hybrid is to reduce traffic congestion. In terms of performance, the vehicle has a ground top speed of 120 kph (75 mph), with a range of 75 km (47 miles) for road travel. When soaring through the skies, it can reach a maximum speed of 160 kph (100 mph) and maintain a cruise speed of 130 kph (81 mph). It provides quick deployment aerial mobility and can fly to a maximum altitude of 1,800 meters (5,906 feet).

Pegasus E helicopter\-car hybrid
Photo: Pegasus Aerospace Corp
According to the company, the Pegasus E controls are very similar to cars and rotorcrafts. Designed with easy maneuverability in mind, the vehicle requires no manual inputs between flight and road functions, and the transition can be performed in just three seconds with the push of a button. This ability to quickly switch between driving and flying will make it easy for users to bypass traffic jams.

What's more, the Pegasus E boasts a sleek and aerodynamic design and is constructed with advanced materials, like prepreg carbon fiber, aircraft-grade aluminum, and Chromoly steel tubes, which give it a high strength and low weight ratio. The vehicle is built on a semi-monocoque chassis, and its exposed carbon fiber panels ensure durability and aesthetic appeal. The canopy over the cockpit offers the driver/pilot excellent visibility, while the automatic folding rotor blades ensure aerodynamic efficiency and safety during flight.

For maximum security, especially in urban environments, Pegasus Aerospace Corp endowed its hybrid vehicle with a nifty feature that allows it to auto-rotate to safety in case of power loss.

In terms of dimensions, the vehicle has a 290-cm (114-inch) wheelbase, is 190 cm (75 inches) high, and boasts a rotor diameter of 528.5 cm (208 inches). Thanks to its compactness, it can easily be parked in a standard parking space. With a dry weight of 265 kg (585 lbs), the vehicle admits a maximum payload weight of 101 kg (222 lbs).

Pegasus E helicopter\-car hybrid
Photo: Pegasus Aerospace Corp
With its long range, VTOL functionality, and ability to refuel at regular gas stations and take off from various surfaces, Pegasus E certainly has the edge over other competitors. The fact that it can fly under current airspace regulations further enhances its versatility and market appeal. Pegasus Aerospace Corp is currently running a WeFunder campaign, allowing interested parties to invest in their innovative VTOL flying car, with investments starting from $300.

The company is also working on four-seat and 12-seat air taxi prototypes and aims to create a nationwide air taxi network in the United States. The Pegasus Air Taxis will specialize in short-haul air transportation between 57 cities across the country.

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About the author: Ancuta Iosub
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After spending a few years as a copy editor, Ancuta decided to put down the eraser and pick up the writer's pencil. Her favorites subjects are unusual car designs, travel trailers and everything related to the great outdoors.
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