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Australian engineer Chris Malloy has spent his spare money and time building a flying motorcycle he calls the Hoverbike. The Imperial Speeder Bike-like bike could reach 10,000 feet and fly 170 mph when finished.
Using his garage, he custom-built the carbon-fiber airframe attached to a 107-hp BMW boxer-twin engine. The wood rotors with carbon-fiber edges counter-rotate, allowing Malloy to avoid the vertical blade that would make a flying bike hostile to any human occupant.
Originally posted by grey580
I don't think I want spinning blades of death that close to my extremities.
I can see a few Darwin Award winners claiming their prizes on that thing.
How safe is the Hoverbike?
Very safe. The hoverbike was designed with safety as the over-riding factor in all design. If you have ever flown and pre-flight checked a helicopter you will appreciate the simplicity of this design. With so many parts on a helicopter - and a large number of single parts that could alone cause catastrophic disaster if they should fail - it is just a matter of time. The hoverbike has as many components as possible with triple redundancy which requires at least 2 other components to fail before you might have a serious airborne failure. This combined with a massive reduction in total parts (compared to a helicopter) and the hoverbike becomes safer and cheaper.
Parachutes. With the hoverbike you have the choice to wear an emergency parachute and have two explosive parachutes attached to the airframe, with a helicopter you have no such choice. The hoverbike in it's current configuration cannot autorotate (with adjustable pitch propellers it can) but this should not be viewed as a discredit to the design. Engine failure in a helicopter or plane by no means assures you that you will survive a autorotation or glide, as air crash statistics show. The option of removing yourself from the vehicle and descending via parachute to the ground may well save your life
The propeller blades will have on the next revision (and certainly the final product sold) a fine mesh over the entire ducting, which will stop any wandering hands or large debri from entering the duct.
At a glance
Airspeed Vne - 150 KIAS (untested)
Hover (out of ground effect) - >10,000ft (estimated)
Dry weight - 110kg Max gross weight - 270kg
Total thrust - 295kg
Engine - 80kw @ 7500rpm
Hoverbike Applications Aerial Cattle mustering Search and Rescue Aerial Survey Wildlife and Parks Film Power-line Inspection
How do you control the Hoverbike?
To lift off into a hover, one needs to increase the thrust via a throttle grip with the right hand - exactly the same as the throttle on a motorbike
To fly forward a combination involving an increase in thrust and the deflection of air from the front control vanes (twisting the left handle grip) will tilt the total thrust vector forward resulting in an acceleration forwards (twist back to go backwards)
To to make the bike roll (turn) left and right, all one needs to do is push the handle bars down on the side you wish to turn (handle bars work just like a bicycle, but with an extra axis so that they rotate up and down a little) - you could lean in the appropriate direction just like a motorbike, but this is proving to be not as sensitive as one would expect or like.
Yaw (nose left or right) is via control vanes front and rear and actuated by turning the handle bars - just like a bike
With the hoverbike you have the choice to wear an emergency parachute and have two explosive parachutes attached to the airframe, with a helicopter you have no such choice.
How stable is the Hoverbike?
Great! With the limited ground testing done thus far the hoverbike has preformed exactly as predicted. In comparison to a helicopter the hover is less sensitive to input and inherently stable. Contrary to popular belief, having greater mass above the centre of pressure does not mean an unstable craft (yes it is less inherently stable than below) A good point of comparison is with fixed wing aircraft, which you can crudely put in three categories - wing above (mass hanging below), wing below (mass sitting above) and wing in the centre - all have their benefits and tradeoffs