We are developing the social individualist meta-context for the future. From the very serious to the extremely frivolous... lets see what is on the mind of the Samizdata people.

Samizdata, derived from Samizdat /n. - a system of clandestine publication of banned literature in the USSR [Russ.,= self-publishing house]

I want one of these!!!

I want one of these!!!

25 comments to I want one of these!!!

  • PersonFromPorlock

    The lift technology is more than fifty years old, the control technology is what makes it useable now. But the things are still going to be gas hogs, and a parachute had better be part of the package.

  • Cirrus Aircraft, right here in Minnesota, makes airplanes with parachutes built in. That hoverbike is lighter, and could manage with a smaller chute.

  • Nick (natural genius) Gray

    If you can turn it on its’ side, and use it as a bicycle (for when you run out of fuel), then I might like one also.
    Hope James Bond uses one of these in the next film!

  • Julie near Chicago

    Very cool!

    But I must be missing something. It’s a “bike” but it looks as though it has four wheels?

  • Nick (natural genius) Gray

    The Harrier jump-jet has four exit vents, for stability.
    I think this is one of those moments when a word evolves into a broader range of meanings- bike, from motorbike, is becoming a generic word, and will mean any kind of vehicle without a cabin. The old meaning, from bi-cycle, two wheels, will stay, but will have to share these extra meanings.
    And we are here to see this linguistic evolving in action!

  • Julie near Chicago

    Hmph. Whoever is counting those wheels better take his socks off. (My favorite is the one that looks like a skinny cricket.)

    Nick. I don’t care how evolved you are, two isn’t four and that’s flat.

  • PersonFromPorlock

    Julie near Chicago
    August 22, 2014 at 8:57 am

    Nick. I don’t care how evolved you are, two isn’t four and that’s flat.

    Quad + cycle: it’s a quike!

  • Julie near Chicago

    Quike so, PfP.

    Sort of like a turkendoose.

  • needhat

    I wonder if you will be able to fly back from the pub on one.
    Not that I would fancy doing it but would the fuzz be in hot pursuit

  • Snag

    Stringent testing and regulation before a human can take to the skies.

    Lucky the Wright brothers didn’t live in this Nanny State age.

  • Jerry

    Looking at the tethered ‘flight’, this looks about as stable as a nitro truck with a broken axle !! I know, add gyros later for stability.
    Agree with PfP et al. This will have the glide path a brick if almost ANYTHING fails !!
    Cute idea but not with my alibaster body ( I don’t bounce as well as
    I once did years ago !! )

  • Looking at the tethered ‘flight’, this looks about as stable as a nitro truck with a broken axle

    That was an early precursor design.

    Agree with PfP et al. This will have the glide path a brick if almost ANYTHING fails !!

    The same is true of any rotary wing aircraft. These on the other hand are looking to simplify some of the many things that regularly go wrong with rotary wing flyers. This and a few other designs being worked on could well be the start of the long overdue Next Generation.

  • Richard Thomas

    My understanding is that if the engine goes out on a conventional helicopter, auto-rotation allows for a small degree of lift and a somewhat-controlled landing. This seems like you’d be coming down at terminal velocity (for both meanings of the word).


  • Richard Thomas


    How safe is the Hoverbike?
    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

    Right then.

  • The trick with a rotary wing even more than a fixed wing is to put it down as soon as possible when things start going wrong. Simply put, yes you can autorotate a conventional helicopter, just don’t dwell too hard on the statistical likelihood of surviving the experience 😉

    If the fact things do not look good if you lose power stop you getting on a hover bike, best not to get in any helicopter really. Parachutes sound great and are somewhat less problematic with this kind of rotary design.

  • jsallison

    Could do some serious lawn mowing with one of those…

  • Paul Marks

    Star Wars indeed!

    Although the basic concept is similar to that of the autogyro.

    And an autogyro is much more affordable than a helicopter.

    I have never really understood why autogyros have not been more popular.

    I certainly hope this idea proves to be practical and becomes popular.

  • I have never really understood why autogyros have not been more popular.

    Cannot hover. No vertical take off and landing.

  • Bruce Hoult

    Autogyros are slower than and have a factor of two or so worse fuel consumption compared to fixed wing aircraft, but can not hover or take off vertically.

    Mind you, they can take off (and land) in a bloody small distance, and fuel consumption is not a big deal for short distances, so autogyros could well have their uses for transport from suburb to suburb if there were places the length of a supermarket carpark kept empty for the purpose. Or roofs of largish buildings, for that matter.

    Helicopters have no problems generating plenty of lift if the engine is off. The problem is the drag, giving them generally about a 3:1 glide angle, the same as the Space Shuttle. Typical numbers are 60 knots forwards and 20 knots (37 km/h, 10 m/s) downwards, limiting the places you can reach, and making the timing of the cushioning of the landing critical.

    The bigger problem with helicopters is they have zero ability to fly after any kind of mechanical failure or collision. Fixed wing can generally take a fair bit of battle damage and still be flyable and controllable.

  • Richard Thomas

    Perry, I have no doubt that these will indeed “put down as soon as possible” in the event of a failure, likely only limited by the terminal velocity of the device.

    I did do a little research into parachutes after my previous posting but decided to save that up for a followup. What I gathered is that the recommended minimum height for deploying a parachute is 2000ft. That is for leisure parachuting, of course. I saw a realistic minimum at 1000ft and an absolute bare minimum of effectiveness at 100ft. That last assumes the chute being deployed immediately, of course. Now, that’s possible, maybe with an automated deployment device but if you require any kind of manual intervention, you have problems.

    So it starts to depend on what kind of heights these things will be used at. Realistically, I’d say *maybe* 500ft but that’s just a guess. Could be lower. Anything happens between say 20 and 200ft, that’s going to be difficult to walk away from.

    I’d probably give one a go anyway, cause it’s my kind of thing. Just saying that it seems to me that there is not much safety margin built into the failure modes (Which isn’t to say it might not be safer overall but colour me skeptical)

  • There are various ways to explosively deploy a parachute when it is not strapped to someone’s back, and I imagine that is what they probably have in mind 😀

    I have never piloted a helicopter myself but my understanding is that autorotation is quite a bit less reliable than gliding a fixed wing in for a dead stick landing, regardless of the theoretical glide ratios, and I think you are quite right that the issue is drag rather than the lift… the big issue though is that the ‘dead stick’ needs to be both undamaged and actually willing to autorotate, haha.

  • Nick (natural genius) Gray

    I bet you’ll need a pilot’s licence for these hover-thingees! No reason you can’t go up, so it’s a plane, to a bureaucrat.

  • Surellin

    Given a sufficiently small engine, these might count in the US as “ultralight” aircraft, thereby needing no license.