Next time the highway turns into a parking lot during your commute, imagine soaring above the traffic in a flying motorcycle. Sure, it seems impossible now, but remember that Orville Wright said it would be forever impossible to cross the Atlantic in an airplane. The future always comes faster than we expect.
In fact, the police department in Dubai is being trained to ride the Hoversurf S3, which uses four propellers to stay airborne. The machine was designed by a Russian company called Hoversurf in 2017 when the Hoversurf S3, then named Scorpion, was first sold to Dubai. This year the vehicle was renamed HoversurfUSA and opened an office in San Jose, California. The less-than-250-pound machine can go 60 miles an hour and fly for 25 minutes. It’s a single-seater, but can carry as much as 600 pounds and costs $150,000.00. It’s powered by lithium-manganese-nickel batteries.
The Hoversurf S3 is controlled with two joysticks and is meant to fly at about 16 feet above the ground (or the traffic). Since it flies so low, it is exempt from FAA regulations (for the present). However, the rider sits very close to those propellers, and it would make mincemeat of anyone it ran into. The COO at Hoversurf, Joseph Segura-Conn, who has flown one, points out the vehicles many safety features, which include a computer-controlled stabilizing system and laser scanners to detect obstacles. Enclosed fans will enclose the props in models to come, and the company will offer customers extensive training.
Other companies are developing flying motorcycles. BMW teamed up with Lego (no kidding) to create the Hover Ride based on the Lego Technic BMW R 1200 GS Adventure kit. BMW has no plan to make the vehicle commercially available at this time.
Many flying motorcycles are in the concept stage. San Francisco designer Norio Fujikawa’s design for the Jetscooter is a futuristic and fuel-efficient scooter. He is creative director at Astro Studios.
The Moonrider Flying Bike has solar panels to power its engine. It was developed by Serbian Profession Marko Lukovic and his team at the industrial design department, University of Art. It’s meant to be used in cities for commuting above the traffic. It would also be a vehicle for police and military. And, Lukovic says that it would also be used for fun in city and country, like three-wheelers and quads. The Moonrider would use a plasma-jet engine—a type of engine that is now in the development phase. When that engine is available, the Moonrider concept could lead to affordable personal flying machines.
Dario Cavaliere’s Jetbike imagines a vehicle powered by a jet engine—enough power to get the bike off the ground and moving forward. The air intake system in the front would both cool the engine and keep the bike from crashing. And anti-gravity system below the engine would keep it flying. Four mufflers on the body and wings provide stability. Pilots would use handlebar controls to manage speed and braking and shift their weight to right or left to turn.
The Hoverbike takes us from the realm of fantasy (or sci fi) to the cutting edge of military procurement. Chris Malloy of New Zealand build the original Hoverbike in his garage in Sydney, Australia as a hobby. But it attracted a lot of attention, including from the US Army. Now his UK-based company Malloy Aeronautics, is teaming with the US defense contractor SURVICE in Aberdeen, Maryland to create Hoverbikes for use as tactical reconnaissance vehicles. They are expected to be ready in three or four years. The company expects a broad market for the vehicles, replacing such helicopters as the Robinson R22, because they will be cheaper to buy, easier to use, and less expensive to maintain.
The Flike Motorbike is a one-person tricopter with an electric/hybrid powertrain. Originated by a Hungarian research institute, it’s being developed by a private company. It’s open concept is not safety oriented and it has steep learning curve, so the Flike Motorbike is meant for private pilots leisure activities.
In contrast, the Aero-X from Aerofex flies up to 10 feet off the ground at 45 miles an hour. It operates like a motorcycle, responding to your movements. You can, it is said, learn to operate it safely in a weekend’s training. It uses a rotary engine and has few moving parts, and so is easy and cheap to maintain. And, it costs just $85,000.00.
What do you think? Is a flying motorcycle in your future? Let’s discuss it on the Eagle Leather Facebook page.