Although the PAL-V looks similar to a helicopter, it is a type of aircraft known as a “gyroplane.” Other names for it are “gyrocopter” or “autogyro.”

Other than during a brief time before takeoff, the rotor on top is free-spinning and not under power during normal flight. This is known as “autorotation.”

There are many advantages to the gyroplane form factor. It’s easy to fly. Compact to fold up for driving mode. It is also very reliable and easier to maintain, with fewer mechanical parts, than a helicopter.

Since the PAL-V has a more limited surface profile than a fixed wing aircraft, it’s capable of operating safely and comfortably in strong winds and turbulent conditions.

Unlike fixed wing aircraft, a gyroplane can operate at very slow speeds without stalling and falling out of the sky.

Although it does need some length of runway for takeoff, it’s landing distance requirement is very minimal, nearly zero feet.

The ability to make slow-speed, short field landings allows for safe recovery in the unlikely event of an engine failure.