It looks like something out of a James Bond movie, but this hovering “bike” is not the stuff of Hollywood fantasy. It’s about to become reality.
Californian company Aerofex is already testing its Aero-X hoverbike and plans to have the vehicle available for sale in 2017, costing more than $90,000.
But is this the future of motorcycling? It would give new meaning to the term “off-road riding” and would solve the problem of our bumpy road network. But we’re not sure if riders are prepared to swap rubber tyres for carbon fibre rotors just yet.
We’re also not sure the transport authorities are ready for hovering on our roads. Maybe the aviation authority needs to be involved. Aerofex suggests the hoverbike is suited for uses such as surveying, search and rescue, border patrol, disaster relief, aerial agricultural, farming and other outdoor activities.
Despite its limited general transport use, the company reports that punters are already forking over $5000 for refundable deposits.
The two-seater Aero-X is powered by a naturally-aspirated three–rotor rotary engine. It will hover up to 3m above the ground and reach speeds of about 70km/h. The hoverbike takes off vertically with no need for a run-up or landing strip.
“Riders” will use motorbike-like controls, making it easy for people with no flying credentials to get moving. For safety’s sake there is a roll bar and optional airbags available.
Aerofex Corporation is led by aerospace engineer Mark DeRoche who claims flying the vehicle will be “intuitive”.
While they don’t specify the fuel tank capacity, it probably won’t be very economical with the heavy 356kg vehicle providing only about 75 minutes of hovering time.