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Video Purports To Show Successful Hover Bike Test Flights

Soulskill posted about 2 years ago | from the bumpercars:-the-next-generation dept.

Transportation 112

Zothecula writes "Videos released by California-based tech research company Aerofex appear to show successful test flights of a prototype hover bike that gains lift from two large ducted rotors. Aeroflex claims its hover bike allows the pilot intuitive control over pitch, roll and yaw without need of artificial intelligence, flight software or electronics of any kind."

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112 comments

Oh! Look! (1, Troll)

rrohbeck (944847) | about 2 years ago | (#41077799)

A small hovercraft without a skirt!
Yawn. Ground effect only. That's not flying.

Re:Oh! Look! (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41077989)

A small hovercraft without a skirt!
Yawn. Ground effect only. That's not flying.

And, so what? It's called a hover bike not a 'flying' bike.

A flying bike would require ridiculous thrust if it were made out of something more substantial than balsa wood. I doubt you'd want to ride something like that without an enclosed cockpit.

Re:Oh! Look! (4, Interesting)

wvmarle (1070040) | about 2 years ago | (#41078013)

The article claims they flew it at 15 ft, and that they think they can way higher like 10,000 ft: if true that's definitely not just ground effect, but unfortunately video doesn't even show the 15 ft trials, only hovering really close to the ground. I would expect them to show off their top tests too.

The think I'm mostly wondering about is stability. How do they do that? Hovercrafts are notorious for their instability, especially smaller craft. Flying them is a tough balancing act.

At least the videos look genuine to me, so it seems to be a real product. Oh well, time will tell how true it all is.

Re:Oh! Look! (2)

Splab (574204) | about 2 years ago | (#41078023)

If it turned out to be only ground effect I'd still want one, looks fun!

Re:Oh! Look! (2)

Joce640k (829181) | about 2 years ago | (#41079295)

Get yourself an ordinary hovercraft, it'll be cheaper, easier, work much better and it's available now.

(Or maybe you enjoy the risk of a device with whirling blades underneath the pilot that will chop him into tiny pieces at the slightest mistake)

Re:Oh! Look! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41082657)

I will just wait for the Dyson bladeless version to come out.

Re:Oh! Look! (1)

LifesABeach (234436) | about 2 years ago | (#41083183)

Now that is worth considering! I hope Moller [moller.com] reads /.

Re:Oh! Look! (1)

shaitand (626655) | about 2 years ago | (#41078625)

I'm reasonably impressed just by what I saw in the video. That level of directional control is impressive for a hovercraft. From what I've seen you normally wouldn't be able to keep one in your lane on the road which is one of the primary reasons you don't seem them used for consumer travel.

If it can get substantial height that is a real bonus but it is cool stuff either way.

Re:Oh! Look! (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41079167)

If there is a bit of wind: Free haircuts for pedestrians!

Re:Oh! Look! (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41078935)

It does seem to show a little wobble, so as a quick question what happens at if a huge sudden gust of wind (very common at altitude) capsizes you? Can you flip it back upright?

Also what happens if you crash, the fan casing fails and the the blades come towards you at full speed? Imagine that'll make the skin torn-off injuries coming off a motorbike look like a scratch.

Re:Oh! Look! (1)

SternisheFan (2529412) | about 2 years ago | (#41079307)

Keep that Star War'sy speeder-bike thingy away from my new car's paint job! I can see pebbles and dust flying around everywhere this thing goes. For stability's sake, throwing a couple of gyroscopes on wouldn't hurt either. As proof of concept, looks promising. I'd still wear a helmet, for now.

Re:Oh! Look! (1)

avandesande (143899) | about 2 years ago | (#41082055)

There are careful aircraft engineers and there are dead ones. I wouldn't be surprised if the max height was done remotely with a tether.

Re:Oh! Look! (1)

wvmarle (1070040) | about 2 years ago | (#41082357)

Article suggests it was done with a driver on board, though it's not mentioned explicitly. They claim they have not tried to push it to max. height and speed yet (for safety reasons indeed). Though a fall off such a thing at 5m high and going some 50 km/hr will hurt. A lot.

Re:Oh! Look! (3, Interesting)

flyingsquid (813711) | about 2 years ago | (#41082409)

The think I'm mostly wondering about is stability. How do they do that? Hovercrafts are notorious for their instability, especially smaller craft. Flying them is a tough balancing act.

My impression is that it doesn't have good stability. Stability refers to the tendency of an aircraft to correct deviations in its flight path. An aircraft has inherent stability in three axes- pitch, yaw, and roll. Pitch refers to the nose pitching up and down, yaw refers to the nose yawing left and right, and roll is rolling about the long axis. So if a gust of wind rolls one wing up, the plane will automatically compensate and level out-without any action on the part of the pilot. This machine seems to perhaps have decent pitch and yaw stability, but roll stability seems to be pretty minimal. You can watch the machine slowly rolling in the movie; it's presumably the result of having a high center of gravity, like a man standing in a canoe.

As far as I can tell, the machine isn't actually stable, instead the pilot continually makes small adjustments to keep the machine flying level. According to the article, "Aerofex's new proof-of-concept craft keeps itself stable by responding to a human rider's natural sense of balance" and "The company has apparently rectified the issue with the addition of knee-level "control bars" on either side of the vehicle that make the vehicle more responsive to the pilot's movements." So from the video and the article it would seem that they haven't made the machine stable, they've made it controllable, and given the pilot the ability to continually make small adjustments to keep it level. If he gets distracted, of course...

Re:Oh! Look! (1)

wvmarle (1070040) | about 2 years ago | (#41082681)

It's claimed to be as easy as riding a bike. When cycling I never pay attention to keeping balance, my body does that automatically. The suggestion is that this machine works much the same.

Re:Oh! Look! (1)

rpresser (610529) | about 2 years ago | (#41082887)

Indeed. A bicycle is never stable either (unless it's lying down).

Re:Oh! Look! (1)

LifesABeach (234436) | about 2 years ago | (#41083151)

It's a shame the cameras didn't catch that test. Maybe next time?

Re:Oh! Look! (3, Interesting)

TubeSteak (669689) | about 2 years ago | (#41078205)

In the 50s, the military paid for development of similar technology [si.edu] , but the power:weight ratio and range just wasn't there with 50s engine technology.
TFA mentions that they're staying under 15ft for safety reasons, not because it requires the ground effect to operate.

The idea for this basic design was thought up in the 40s and the only reason it was abandoned in the 50s/60s was because the military decided to put their money behind conventional helicopters.

Re:Oh! Look! (2)

SteveAyre (209812) | about 2 years ago | (#41078949)

"but the power:weight ratio and range just wasn't there with 50s engine technology"

Yep, modern batteries should give the required energy storage capacity while electric motors give much better power/torque at very very low weight. Plus the lightweight materials to build the chassis which just didn't exist before the space race and have only improved since then.

In the 50s I imagine the batteries meant an electric motor was just impossible without tethering you to the mains, so it required a internal combustion engine which naturally means very heavy motor and very heavy fuel.

Re:Oh! Look! (1)

somersault (912633) | about 2 years ago | (#41079013)

Where are you getting your figures for all of that?

The Tesla Roadster is based on the Lotus Elise chassis. The Elise has 217bhp and weighs 914kg, which is 241 bhp/ton. The Tesla Roadster has 248bhp and weighs 1283kg, so 196 bhp/ton. And guess which has a better range?

Personally I'd love an electric vehicle for commuting and short trips, but what you said doesn't really make sense.

Re:Oh! Look! (3, Informative)

Grishnakh (216268) | about 2 years ago | (#41078259)

Wow, what an incredibly dumb comment. Look at the article title: "Hover Bike". Go look up the definition of "hover", as in "hovercraft". They don't need to fly above ground effect, that's the whole point of a hovercraft, is to stay close to the ground but hover enough that you can fly over rough (roadless) terrain and water.

Re:Oh! Look! (1)

shaitand (626655) | about 2 years ago | (#41078635)

Unlike most hovercraft this looks like it has decent control. A normal hovercraft couldn't be kept from floating into oncoming traffic on the road. This looks like it could. Beyond rough terrain that has significant benefits in reducing wear on the road and eliminating tires and the hassles that come with them.

Re:Oh! Look! (4, Insightful)

Joce640k (829181) | about 2 years ago | (#41079331)

Unlike most hovercraft this looks like it has decent control.

Huh? I watched the video twice and didn't see any impressive braking or steering. Or speed.

All I saw was a guy driving like he was constantly worried about falling into the whirling blades six inches under his feet.

Re:Oh! Look! (2)

ceoyoyo (59147) | about 2 years ago | (#41083439)

Just think how much more efficient it would be with a skirt. Could probably get high enough off the ground to go somewhere other than the desert too.

I will decide if this is real... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41077803)

When I get to ride one!

I'll be impressed after 5 mins of stable flight (1, Insightful)

DeTech (2589785) | about 2 years ago | (#41077833)

This thing looks marginally stable on flat ground in ideal conditions for 5 seconds... I've had more successful "flight" tests falling out of bed in the AM.

Also, please buy a camera. Or a phone... On second thought how did they even TAKE a video this bad.

Re:I'll be impressed after 5 mins of stable flight (3, Insightful)

Joce640k (829181) | about 2 years ago | (#41079345)

I'm just glad the video had no sound. I don't think my eardrums could have taken it.

Re:I'll be impressed after 5 mins of stable flight (1)

budgenator (254554) | about 2 years ago | (#41081935)

First the guys are Engineers, basically math geeks so there cinematography skills isn't so hot. Stability seems pretty good for a proof-of-concept even with an engineer in the driver's seat, I've seen Apache pilots flying a lot more squirrely with the stick of a Kiowa in their hands instead. Strap that thing to the ass of a real rotary wing pilot or even a hardcore motorcycle freak and you'll see a big difference, hell just dropping the center of gravity below the pilots pelvis and the ducted fans above it would help a lot.

In other news... (0)

Meshach (578918) | about 2 years ago | (#41077849)

Slashdot falls for another obvious fake article.

Re:In other news... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41078007)

Slashdot falls for another obvious fake article.

If it's a fake, it's pretty conservative.

I'd think a faker would want to demonstrate flying 20+ feet above the ground and zooming around a bit more, not hovering ~1.5 feet above the ground and slowly maneuvering.

Why would they bother faking something not much different from an average hovercraft?

Re:In other news... (1)

ceoyoyo (59147) | about 2 years ago | (#41083517)

They claim they can fly as high as they want. You'd think they'd support that claim with the video.

Re:In other news... (4, Informative)

TubeSteak (669689) | about 2 years ago | (#41078213)

They sure went to a lot of trouble for a fake product.
Registering their website in 1997, going to conferences in 2012.
That's the kind of trolling that takes planning and dedication

Future Vertical Lift Aircraft Design Conference 2012 [vtol.org] (PDF)
3:30 PM - 4:00 PM Thrust Augmentation & Control of Ducted-Fan VTOL Air-Vehicles -- Mark De Roche, Aerofex Corporation

Re:In other news... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41078245)

Slashdot falls for another obvious fake article.

Your hovercraft is full of ills!

The Important Question (2)

Intoblivion (1331485) | about 2 years ago | (#41077851)

Is it allowed through the drive-thru?

Re:The Important Question (2)

rvw (755107) | about 2 years ago | (#41079787)

Is it allowed through the drive-thru?

Only when the girl at the counter needs a hairdo.

Somewhat disappointed (2)

93 Escort Wagon (326346) | about 2 years ago | (#41077853)

When I saw the term "hover bike", I thought they were talking about something human powered.

Still, I wouldn't mind getting to ride on it...

Re:Somewhat disappointed (2)

subreality (157447) | about 2 years ago | (#41078817)

Human powered has been done, sort of: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/University_of_Maryland_Gamera_II_Human_Powered_Helicopter [wikipedia.org]

It only flies in ground effect, but they've gotten it in the air for nearly a minute (with someone in much better shape than me pedaling like mad).

Re:Somewhat disappointed (1)

93 Escort Wagon (326346) | about 2 years ago | (#41084015)

Human-powered ground effect flight is STILL pretty darn cool.

Does not look too stable (3, Insightful)

gweihir (88907) | about 2 years ago | (#41077865)

My impression is that the driver is under high stress and may have trouble to control this thing. May not be nearly as stable as the video tries to imply.

Make it extreme! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41077867)

When is it going to do a back flip?

WASP X-Jet (5, Interesting)

Penurious Penguin (2687307) | about 2 years ago | (#41077903)

And somehow, for some reason of time rather garbled and strange, this seems so boring in comparison to this wonderful antique: Williams WASP X-Jet [youtube.com]

I'm not saying I don't want one, but if given the choice....

Re:WASP X-Jet (1)

ozmanjusri (601766) | about 2 years ago | (#41077995)

Pretty, but real men prefer the meg-1x [youtube.com] .

Re:WASP X-Jet (3, Funny)

Penurious Penguin (2687307) | about 2 years ago | (#41078057)

Who needs real men? I'd wear high-heels, lipstick and a dress any day for a ride in an X-Jet. Hell, I'd even shave my legs and sing the Lumberjack song [youtube.com] if I had to.

Re:WASP X-Jet (1)

AHuxley (892839) | about 2 years ago | (#41078001)

Young people dont like to be reminded of what they have rediscovered :)

Re:WASP X-Jet (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41080277)

Expensive (military jet engine based, bonus points, useful tech for developing cruise missiles) with low endurance, low capacity and no safety in the event of engine problems.

Can't see why it wasn't a bigger success really.

Re:WASP X-Jet (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41081965)

Looks like they rediscovered the Piasecki Air Jeep to me.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4SERvwWALOM

Re:WASP X-Jet (1)

wierd_w (1375923) | about 2 years ago | (#41083767)

I see this, and immediately think about all the fun pranks you could do dressing it up as a dalek, and zooming around london.

Re:WASP X-Jet (1)

Penurious Penguin (2687307) | about 2 years ago | (#41083993)

Sounds like fun, but as far as I know, it's only water-resistant.

I am waiting for my Matel Hover Board (1)

zaphod777 (1755922) | about 2 years ago | (#41077931)

Until I can have the board from Back to the Future ::YAWN::

magnets (1)

ThorGod (456163) | about 2 years ago | (#41077971)

why don't we just line our streets and cars with (electro) magnets?

(What? Afraid of the poles reversing?)

Re:magnets (1)

ThatsMyNick (2004126) | about 2 years ago | (#41077991)

That would be way more expensive than each person owning one of these.

Re:magnets [on auto wheels?] (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41078015)

Ok, don't smash me to smithereens, but with four spinning wheels, couldn't a little electricity be extracted from automobile wheels with four electric motors? It shouldn't create much friction, and the added weight could be compensated for by downsizing, maybe.. maybe? I know close to nothing about mechanics or electrical theory.

Re:magnets [on auto wheels?] (1)

riT-k0MA (1653217) | about 2 years ago | (#41079231)

Something like that is actually used in hybrid vehicles to regenerate the battery. it's called Regenerative Braking. Using it like you suggest would be like driving with the handbrake on. Also remember that recapturing energy like this is very inefficient, therefore you are better off generating electricity directly from the engine.

Rank Amateurs (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41078093)

The design is missing so many known technologies it's laughable.

They are either complete amateurs or they are afraid of patents and therefore trying to create this with the minimum use of existing technology.

It's entirely feasible to build a machine using fans which will self hover and maintain it's position at a given height without any operator input, you just need to utilitise the right tech to do it.

And why did they put the center of gravity so high up ? Why not move the operator seat lower down - would make it far easier to balance.

Re:Rank Amateurs (2)

91degrees (207121) | about 2 years ago | (#41078291)

And why did they put the center of gravity so high up ? Why not move the operator seat lower down - would make it far easier to balance.

Steering? I know from one-man hovercraft that the rudder is mostly useless, and you steer by leaning. You need a Cog to be high enough to do this.

Re:Rank Amateurs (1)

Gordonjcp (186804) | about 2 years ago | (#41079443)

Let's see yours, then.

Re:Rank Amateurs (1)

Fallingwater (1465567) | about 2 years ago | (#41079531)

I wish I could throw money at a project like this so I could show you mine. :P

If I could, though, I suppose it'd be a scaled-up quadrotor (possibly turbine-powered) with a pilot under it. It seems just more sensible than this two-rotor thing that seems to want to kill its pilot at the slightest provocation.

Also, the fact that it flies without electronics is not a good thing. Multirotor setups, especially those with a high center of gravity, benefit immensely from computer-controlled stability.

Re:Rank Amateurs (1)

Amouth (879122) | about 2 years ago | (#41080307)

Also, the fact that it flies without electronics is not a good thing. Multirotor setups, especially those with a high center of gravity, benefit immensely from computer-controlled stability.

No true, remember the KISS principal. Given that their intended use is in outback and 3rd world places where replacement electronics are likely to be unavailable but a welder is, the more simplistic and basic mechanical they can make it the more durable, usable, and practical it is for their intended use.

Re:Rank Amateurs (1)

FishTankX (1539069) | about 2 years ago | (#41081109)

The only multi rotor setup I followed was the Gen H4 helicopter

http://www.youtube.com/user/genh4?feature=results_main [youtube.com]

It seems to do pretty well, seems easy to control, can fly with the loss of 1 engine and do emergency landing after loosing 2. It's available now in a kit for like $40k. Not too bad. I think it qualifies as an ultralight.

Re:Rank Amateurs (1)

budgenator (254554) | about 2 years ago | (#41082641)

Not sure where I read it, following links in the article, that now they have proved the concept and shown basic useable stability w/o electronics, that the next step is to develop a computerized stability assistance of some sort. There are many improvements that would improve the stability to the machine even without electronics; one of the problems with relying too much on electronics for stability is how screwed you'd be when they fail.

don't be fooled (5, Funny)

tbonefrog (739501) | about 2 years ago | (#41078103)

The terrain looks suspiciously like the surface of Mars. Don't be a sucker. This could not work in Earth gravity.

Mars? No. Nevada? Yes. (4, Informative)

Okian Warrior (537106) | about 2 years ago | (#41078251)

This looks suspiciously like the Black Rock desert in Nevada. About a hundred miles North and a little East of Reno, near the town of Gerlach.

The place is the largest section of "flat" in the US. It's the remains of a prehistoric lake (Lahontan [wikipedia.org] ) that has dried up, leaving behind a perfectly flat dried mud surface.

It's where the land-speed records are set. It's where amateur rockets are launched. It's where Burning Man is held.

Re:Mars? No. Nevada? Yes. (1)

Dog-Cow (21281) | about 2 years ago | (#41080371)

Woooooooooooooosh!

(And that's not the sound of the turbine!)

Air ballast (1)

JimboFBX (1097277) | about 2 years ago | (#41078113)

So nobody's invented a ballast tank that works by creating a vacuum yet? No lightweight material that can maintain shape at 14 psi?

To me a helicopter/hot air ballon/motorcycle hybrid seems feasible.

Re:Air ballast (1)

Viol8 (599362) | about 2 years ago | (#41078661)

"So nobody's invented a ballast tank that works by creating a vacuum yet?"

The difference in lift between between a tank filled with hydrogen and one with a vacuum will be negligable because H2 is such a light gas already so its not worth the bother.

"No lightweight material that can maintain shape at 14 psi?"

Not light enough to use in an airship.

Re:Air ballast (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41079011)

It just doesn't work like that. Small tanks lose because of square-cube; for positive-pressure, the solution is just make it bigger, but for negative-pressure, big tanks have to be thick, else they fail by buckling.

What's wrong with hydrogen? Do you think you can build internal bracing lighter than it?

What everyone is missing (2)

Grayhand (2610049) | about 2 years ago | (#41078199)

All the articles I've seen they boast of this mechanical system for balancing the craft. The guy looks terrified to move even slightly. This type of VTOL craft is inherently unstable. There's a good reason he never guns it, the craft would flip. I'm sure it's perfectly capable of reaching a 100 to 200 feet or more but not safely. The LEM for the Moon landing was very similar but there was more finger crossing than technology involved in the first Moon landing. It's a cool idea but any moderately safe system would have to involve computers for balance correction rather then a mechanical linked system. They can become unstable in less than a second. Hearing it was mechanical in nature made me call bullshit before I even saw the video. After seeing it I'm still convinced that there's no passive way to make them safe. Even the Moeller Skycar with all it's computer assistance never got more than 15 feet off the ground. The Harrier jet was one of the few successful VTOL crafts that ever was ever widely accepted.

Re:What everyone is missing (1)

slacka (713188) | about 2 years ago | (#41078375)

They are working on a very similar concept in Australia.
http://www.hover-bike.com/index.html [hover-bike.com]
I love the concept, but I agree. the stability problem needs to to be fixed with computers and gyros, not human balance. And when someone does finally nail it, it's going to be one hell of a toy!

Re:What everyone is missing (2)

UncleTogie (1004853) | about 2 years ago | (#41078485)

Hearing it was mechanical in nature made me call bullshit before I even saw the video.

A gyroscope flywheel is mechanical, yet would serve such a purpose. Mechanical gyros are used in spacecraft and aircraft.
http://www.pilotfriend.com/training/flight_training/fxd_wing/gyro.htm [pilotfriend.com]

Re:What everyone is missing (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | about 2 years ago | (#41079503)

Flywheel by definition adds weight, and either makes the vehicle difficult to turn or increases cost and complexity significantly. What is needed is a stationkeeping electronic control system. People trying to eliminate such are kidding only themselves. Only a goddamn ninja airman can fly an inherently non-aerodynamic aircraft which requires manual control.

Re:What everyone is missing (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41082155)

Have you ever watched a pilot holding a helicopter in hover? That is a very non-aerodynamic, unstable aircraft with full manual control.

A flywheel doesn't have to be a wheel. It can be two weights on the ends of rods (AKA a 'flybar'). Look at a typical Huey rotor - it uses just such a system. Essentially, the rotor and flybar are linked together in such a way that any difference between the planes of rotation of the rotor and flybar cause the pitch of the rotor blades to change in a way that returns the rotor to the plane of the flybar. Neither complex nor particularly heavy. Even if this doesn't make a helicopter perfectly stable, it increases the natural frequency of the instability to something that can be controlled by a person.

A bicycle is not a stable machine, but the gyroscopic action of the front wheel combined with the steering geometry causes an uncontrolled moving bicycle to fall more slowly than a stationary bike. The response is slow enough that it can be easily controlled by a normal person with just a little practice.

Walking on a ball is not stable. Walking on a small, light ball is very difficult. Walking on a large, heavy ball is not so difficult, since you have a bit more time to react.

A machine such as a hoverbike doesn't have to be stable, any more than a motorcycle has to be stable. The instability just has to have a natural period long enough to allow a person to react. With a little practice, just like riding a bike, the reaction becomes muscle memory.

Re:What everyone is missing (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | about 2 years ago | (#41082677)

Have you ever watched a pilot holding a helicopter in hover? That is a very non-aerodynamic, unstable aircraft with full manual control.

The inertia of the rotor gives it some inherent stability, and the move in helis is towards computer control, with the latest military models having the ability to hover in place if you let go of the stick as the front-mounted cannon tracks your view through the IR camera on the visor HUD.

A machine such as a hoverbike doesn't have to be stable, any more than a motorcycle has to be stable. The instability just has to have a natural period long enough to allow a person to react.

You would basically have the asshole-clenching experience of making a high-speed fly-by in a helicopter at very low altitude at all times except when you were trying to avoid one of the many obstacles near ground level that you're going to be encountering very quickly. More power to anyone who is willing to risk smearing themselves across the landscape trying, but it's not really likely to be very useful without a computer in the mix.

Re:What everyone is missing (1)

budgenator (254554) | about 2 years ago | (#41083093)

Not as hard or as heavy [hobbyking.com] as you'd imagine.

Re:What everyone is missing (1)

budgenator (254554) | about 2 years ago | (#41082975)

Mechanical gyro have pretty much been replaced by ring laser gyro [wikipedia.org] in everything except general aviation, you also need accelerometers [wikipedia.org] to do anything useful with the pilots seat out of the feedback loop.

Re:What everyone is missing (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41078587)

"The LEM for the Moon landing was very similar but there was more finger crossing than technology involved in the first Moon landing. It's a cool idea but any moderately safe system would have to involve computers for balance correction"

Actually the LEM used an analog computer for stabilisation.

Re:What everyone is missing (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41079291)

"The LEM for the Moon landing was very similar but there was more finger crossing than technology involved in the first Moon landing."

What about the subsequent ones?

It wasn't about "finger crossing", it was about pilot SKILL, which you seem to have missed out of your equation. Idiot.

Harrier, one of the few successful VTOL crafts??? (2)

Viol8 (599362) | about 2 years ago | (#41079315)

You seem to have forgotten about helicopters. What the hell do you think they are??

Re:What everyone is missing (1)

avandesande (143899) | about 2 years ago | (#41082119)

Not sure what you are expecting the to see- the wright brother's plane didn't seem very practical either.

Piasecki VZ-8 Airgeep (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41078303)

boringly old tech, see Piasecki VZ-8 Airgeep for one that was real.

I WOULD STILL RATHER HAVE ONE OF THESE (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41078453)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bOVh-vlUius

too bad it never made it out of the 80s

man is not needed (2)

Max_W (812974) | about 2 years ago | (#41078497)

A quadrocopter can fly without a man on top, be telecommand. In this case it will be light and safe to fly in a city.

The problem is the battery. What is needed is the miniature silent gas turbine, so that it can fly not 10 minutes, but 2 hours.

Re:man is not needed (1)

wonkey_monkey (2592601) | about 2 years ago | (#41079287)

A quadrocopter can fly without a man on top

What if the point of this product is, as it appears to be, to provide transport for a man?

Re:man is not needed (1)

Max_W (812974) | about 2 years ago | (#41079995)

It is quite possible to transport urgent mail inside a city or shoot aerial videos with a light unmanned automatic quadrocopter. The problem is the battery, or the lack of a silent micro turbine.

I do not see a point of putting a man in such a dangerous environment if it can be done by a robot.

Re:man is not needed (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41083135)

You moron! The whole idea behind this invention and others like it is to develop something that will allow transporting a HUMAN from point A to point B - not to shoot videos or to transport other objects.

No audio? (1)

fustakrakich (1673220) | about 2 years ago | (#41078865)

Probably for obvious reasons. Flying machines, especially the hovering kind aren't known for being very quiet. And little to keep you from falling into the props. Mmmm, minced meat. Fire up the Weber.

Re:No audio? (1)

Gordonjcp (186804) | about 2 years ago | (#41079473)

And little to keep you from falling into the props.

Because of course although the designers can figure out how to make a hover bike, they haven't heard of wire mesh yet...

power fail? (2)

rsmith (90057) | about 2 years ago | (#41078867)

The problem with all these powered lift gizmos (like the Williams X-jet and the Hiller VZ-1) is that you tend to fall out ouf the sky when your engine fails... The Hiller VZ-1 which is also a ducted fan used *two* 30 kW engines, but barely flew out of the ground effect [si.edu] and was limited in speed. More powerful versions had other control problems.

Re:power fail? (1)

_bug_ (112702) | about 2 years ago | (#41080319)

Helicopters have the same problem of falling out of the sky if the engine fails. That has not stopped them from becoming quite popular.

Re:power fail? (2)

ArsonSmith (13997) | about 2 years ago | (#41081867)

before I had heard about it i thought the same thing, but auto rotation landings are part of most military advanced pilot training where they cut the engine and have to land a helicopter.

Re:power fail? (1)

Amouth (879122) | about 2 years ago | (#41080339)

well the fan vs the jet, the fan version at least has the option of auto-rotating like a helicopter. not sure how well that works for ducted fans.

Re:power fail? (2)

NoisySplatter (847631) | about 2 years ago | (#41080843)

For autorotation you need long blades, negative pitch and enough altitude to work with. I cant see a ducted fan having much autorotation capability. They would lack the surface area and momentum necesary.

Bike? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41079749)

Bike is short for bicycle. The root of the name is two wheels. In slang I can understand motorcycle being called a bike, but how does this turbine powered air boat even come close to being a "bike"? Because you straddle the saddle, like a horce/white water canoe and several other things?

Kitchenaid (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41079803)

Just hop onto your Kitchenaid "hover bike" hit puree and your off!

I'm gonna pass on this one. Thanks anyway.

Landspeeder - BEST HOPE (1)

notpaul (181662) | about 2 years ago | (#41080179)

*sigh*

I get tired of pointing these guys out ... but if you do your homework you will realize they are the real deal ... and they are not rushing anything just to get some cheap PR. Eventually, I am confident they will succeed:

http://www.urbanaero.com

Knievel (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41080863)

there's a very fine line between being scared and concerned
and since i don't like to say i'm scared, i say i'm concerned
but you know what?
i really might be a little be scared
yes?
can you tell me about the mechanisms on your bike?
well
it's a sky cycle actually honey, it's not a bike
it's a sky cycle
there are only two sky cycles in the whole world, i own both
i had three, but the third one's in the bottom of the snake river canyon

Looks a little fake (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41081549)

Video is mostly wide angel/fisheye so it's hard to say if it's moving in a straight line or actually connected to a rotating arm (see old behind the scenes clips from Star Wars and how they shot some of the landspeeder shots - oh the irony if this is just more of the same). Not a single distance shot showing it actually moving on it's own power.

The flip side (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41082415)

I couldn't see on the video but I hope the fans are covered by some sort of grill. I can just imagine this thing flipping over and landing on top of the rider. Then, of course there's the passing pigeon, bunny or Chihuahua. Bzzzt.

Sweet!!! My own Manta is almost possible... (1)

Immerial (1093103) | about 2 years ago | (#41083285)

Now all they have to do is turn the fans sideways and they'll have a Manta from Unreal Tournament 2004 [upanh.com] :)

Malloy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41083703)

This is WAY cooler: http://hover-bike.com/ :-D

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