We may not yet have a working flying car, but Australian born Chris Malloy has developed a hoverbike that may set hopes high and change the way we look at travel. And unlike the flying cars we’ve all been promised since the 1950’s, these hovercycles may be more than just an unrealized dream soon. Last year we brought you coverage of the convertible flying cars that could be turned into airplanes at the flip of a switch, but these hoverbikes may far exceed our wildest dreams of travel at a price that may eventually become no more than a typical motorcycle. Will we soon start seeing hovercycles?
Chris Malloy is a man with a dream , he wants to make the future accessible not only to our distant descendants, but give us a slice of that science fiction future today , and do so at a reasonable price. And while the hovercycle may be out of the price range for most people in 2011 dollars, by 2013 or 2014 it may actually become commonplace.
And Malloy has already gone through the first regimen of tests to ensure this dream becomes a reality. As the first hovercycle went throuh a series of computer simulations and mountains of mathematical equations to study the way the cycle interacts with the air around it, the vehicle passed thanks to some new technology and looking at older technology in a new way. But even now the hovercycle, which in theory could float up and even move forward and backward, is remaining firmly tethered to the ground until further tests can be conducted.
The hoverbike, which is smaller than a typical sedan at the moment is still far from how it will look when it reaches the market, however. Currently the system has two large rotors on the front and back that spin rapidly like a helicopter’s blades while the frame holding the driver and passengers is more like an actual motorcycle. Two grips on the handlebars control the speed and pitch of the vehicle with a backup system designed to keep inexperienced drivers from flipping over. At the moment the bike is being designed for military operations, rescues, and maintenance to fix telephone poles and perform other maintenance too high for a typical ladder. The vehicle can travel above the interstate, making it quite interesting to those wishing to bypass the commute and hover their way directly to work or home. But unlike the current model, the actual releases will likely have a completely covered frame with a steel mesh designed to keep the limbs of the driver, passengers, and pedestrians safe from the quickly rotating blades. A hovercycle it may be, but Malloy is not prepared to sacrifice safety for style.
So what will the world look like if Malloy reaches his goal of 1,000 units produced per year? How different will our roads and our skies be if people start purchasing their very own hovercycles? One interesting point about these vehicles is since they’re categorized as ultralight aircraft they will not require the same FAA regulations and will not need a pilot’s license to fly. If you can drive a car, you will essentially be eligible to fly Malloy’s hovercycle. Of course several states will require a sport license, but these would be generally very accessible to the public.
So the question on everyone’s mind is how far the vehicle will be able to travel. Currently it is estimated, though still untested, to be able to fly approximately 100 miles on a single tank of fuel. Of course when you’re not stopping for traffic or taking meandering country roads this may translate to more than previously thought.