It is the kind of vehicle that would normally be confined to classic science fiction films like Back to the Future.

But for a Norfolk air ambulance charity, the future is now.

SkyAngels, an emergency service based at Norwich Airport, has become the first in the world to place an order for a flying car.

The cutting-edge PAL-V Liberty, is a futuristic car which can be converted into gyroplane and has been developed in the Netherlands.

Just two are currently in existence, but SkyAngels is to splash out an estimated £350,000 for one to be built specifically for the service, which it hopes can take to the road and air by early 2025.

Norwich Evening News: David Polo Marks, chief executive of SkyAngelsDavid Polo Marks, chief executive of SkyAngels (Image: Newsquest)

David Polo Marks, chief executive of the charity, said: "There is a new flying revolution coming and I've been excited about this for a long time.

"The flying car will give us the kind of versatility other helicopter emergency medical services don't have."

Norwich Evening News:

Currently, the charity largely responds to situations when patients need to be transferred between hospitals and similar situations.

It has one helicopter and two planes in its fleet and has also provided repatriation services for people stuck abroad.

Mr Marks said the vehicle would largely be used for "inter-city operations" such as transferring organs, blood and medical supplies.

He said it would largely be used in flight mode, with road mode used for the final few miles of journeys.

Norwich Evening News: PAL-V Liberty flying car. Picture: PAL-VPAL-V Liberty flying car. Picture: PAL-V (Image: PAL-V)

He added: "The car won't be able to transport patients, but we will be able to get urgent medical care and supplies to people much quicker.

"Most existing air ambulance charities have cars and road vehicles and the reason for that is simply - the weather. 

"When helicopters are grounded, their medical crews use road vehicles - PAUL-V will manage both missions in all weathers.

"The flexibility it will bring really excites me and we are thrilled to have PAL-V as a partner and look forward to utilising their unique technology in our operations."

Mr Marks, 67, who has worked in the air ambulance sector for 30 years, said he had long since been fascinated by the idea of flying cars.

He said: "I'm of a generation that did think we probably would have had flying cars by now.

"About 10 years ago I went and saw an early prototype and from then have been looking at how they could work for us."

It is planned that the car would largely be used for short flights where natural obstacles limit access, such as flying to small islands like the Isle of Wight.

Robert Dingemanse, chief executive of PAL-V, said: "The reservation of SkyAngels shows their trust in our product and we look forward to further developing this partnership to make emergency response better.

"SkyAngels Air Ambulance has a unique use case for the Liberty, which also helps us to develop the business and governmental markets."



The vehicle is equipped with foldable propellers and a helicopter-style rotor, which are stowed inside the vehicle while it is being used on the road.

It has dual engines - one for flying and one for driving - and is fitted with two seats.

This means it won't, however, be used as an air ambulance, as it will be unable to carry patients.

Nor will the transition be as seamless as a James Bond car - it takes around six minutes to change between modes and has to be done manually

The vehicle can also not take off and land anywhere - requiring a take-off space 200sqm such as a small airstrip or aerodome.

Mr Marks added: "Range, payload and practicality are key factors when considering a flying car for our air ambulance services.

"Our mission is to cover the UK - we are not a regional charity, therefore the speed and range for inter-city operations will be vital for years to come."

The car will effectively be used as a rapid-response vehicle to transport medical professionals to emergency scenes - or between hospitals.Norwich Evening News: