Hoverbike drone project for air transport takes off

July 24, 2014 by Nancy Owano weblog

What happens when you cross a helicopter with a motorbike? The crew at Malloy Aeronautics has been focused on a viable answer and has launched a crowdfunding campaign to support its Hoverbike project, "The Hoverbike is the result of years worth of research and development," said Chris Malloy of Malloy Aeronautics. "We combined the simplicity of a motorbike and the freedom of a helicopter to create the world's first flying motorcycle."

The Hoverbike flies like a quadcopter, and can be flown unmanned or manned. The team is selling a one-third scale drone model, not a full-sized, for the Kickstarter campaign, so that they can continue their work in bringing their dream flying machine to market. Its origins go back to when Chris Malloy built himself a Hoverbike in 2011. In this early version, the wheels were rotated horizontally and replaced with big ducted fans. Malloy has since changed the design from a bicopter to a quadcopter, said the report on their work in IEEE Spectrum.

As Malloy explained, "we moved to a proven quadcopter design, because with current technology we could not design a bi-copter cheap enough for safe and competitive sales." He said the company is in the final construction stages of the latest manned prototype of Hoverbike. They are to start flight testing in a few months and then will build a final engineering prototype for submission to aviation certification authorities.

The quadcopter design uses two pairs of rotors that overlap to help conserve space and weight, said IEEE Spectrum. For about $1,000 the company is offering a "barebones" one-third scale model as part of the campaign, with an estimated delivery date of November this year. This is a stripped-down package that comes with a fully assembled frame, motors and propellers, "and is for a person with experience and desire to use their own flight controller, batteries, and ESC." For about $1,200 dollars, one can have a one-third scale Hoverbike – that is ready to fly, but you need to supply your own choice of radio. The delivery date is also targeted for November.

The team did not build the device just for entertainment purposes; they said they believe it would be ideal for practical applications, such as ski and mountain rescue, airborne logistics and time-sensitive personnel insertion/extraction during major disasters. It can be folded and palletized.

"Our goal is to produce an extremely reliable helicopter, designed with rugged simplicity at its heart and true pilot safety built into the design and operation of the aircraft," said the company. "Nothing we are doing is new. We are not developing any component or system that has not been designed and thoroughly tested before. If we are doing anything new it is the combination of existing systems."

Explore further: Helicopter takes to the skies with the power of thought (w/ Video)

More information: www.hover-bike.com/MA/the-hoverbike/how-you-can-own-it/

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4.1 / 5 (10) Jul 24, 2014
When a regular motorcycle is too safe.
3.5 / 5 (4) Jul 24, 2014
Looks useful, surprised DARPA aren't throwing money at them...
4.2 / 5 (5) Jul 24, 2014
Well, we were promised flying cars.
4.2 / 5 (6) Jul 24, 2014
It's range is likely around 10-20 minutes of flying. Batteries are no good for this sort of thing.
5 / 5 (8) Jul 24, 2014
This is just too cool, even though the scale model for the Kickstarter is not much more than a toy.

The dream of flying cars never seems to leave us. A commercial full scale version with regulator approval is likely to be many years away. By then it would be a safe as other aircraft and require a qualified pilot to fly it.

I fly radio controlled quadcopters as a hobby - in a responsible and legal manner - and the suggested $1200 would buy a very nice RC quad that could be used to capture aerial video. A great way to get a perspective that isn't possible at ground level. Sadly, the hobby has started to attract fools that have little interest in following the existing laws or respecting the rights of others, which reflects badly on the rest of us.
4 / 5 (4) Jul 25, 2014
Wow, it's hard to imagine a more inefficient design methodology. But kudos for trying, I suppose.
3.7 / 5 (3) Jul 25, 2014
The one-third scale prototype should have a useful payload of at least 80 pounds. I don't for a second imagine that it does. I think this is another kick starter ruse. And it comes pre-packaged with all the excuses for why it's not working "yet" as all the other "flying car" ruses. Personally, I'd go with the potato salad.
5 / 5 (1) Jul 26, 2014
At least a human carrying quadcopter could incorporate a ballistic recovery chute,unlike a conventional copter.
5 / 5 (1) Jul 27, 2014
I'm not sure I'd want to be underneath it when if loses power, or maybe it could be a weapon of assassination. Just remove the top layer of the cranium!
5 / 5 (1) Jul 28, 2014
"What happens when you cross a helicopter with a motorbike? ..."

Death from above: Let's go spook some farm yard animals.

BTW: FAA minimums will apply, and not just because its a good idea, either.
5 / 5 (1) Jul 28, 2014
It occurs to me that this will do more than a motorcycle (no matter how more efficient or "safe" motorcycles are).

I don't know a motorcycle that could traverse a river, lake, or possibly even a vertical canyon, can "drive" as "the crow flies" etc. etc.....

I think capability plays a "tiny" part in evaluating this technology.

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