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Aero-X hoverbike set to take off in 2017

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May 19, 2014

Aerofex says its Aero-X hoverbike will be available to buy in 2017 (Photo: Aerofex)

Aerofex says its Aero-X hoverbike will be available to buy in 2017 (Photo: Aerofex)

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That most long-awaited form of transport may finally be arriving with California-based Aerofex announcing that it'll be launching its Aero-X hoverbike in 2017 at an estimated price of US$85,000 (+CPI). The company is already accepting refundable deposits of $5,000 on its website, with first flights scheduled for 2016. The Aero-X is designed to carry two people up to a height of 3 m (10 ft) above the ground and reach speeds of up to 72 km/h (42 mph).

Aerofex has been testing its hoverbike for some time now, attempting to resolve various control and stability challenges. With carbon fiber rotors taking the place of wheels, the Aero-X will be able to take-off and land vertically without the need for a runway or forward speed, according to the company.

It's also reported to be as easy to ride as a motorcycle, as pilots will be able to use the handlebar grips, situated at knee level, to control the hoverbike in a similar fashion. They'll only need about a weekend of training to be able to fly it easily, the company claims.

With carbon fiber rotors taking the place of wheels, the Aero-X will be able to take-off a...

With a pre-fuel weight of about 356 kg (785 lb), the hoverbike can carry loads of up to 140 kg (310 lb) over any any type of surface, state company officials. It's also expected to run for about 75 minutes on a full tank of fuel. While it's primarily being designed to be a low-altitude sport and utility vehicle, its developers say it can be adapted for any number of uses.

"The Aero-X will have a positive impact on agriculture, herd management, and geo-surveying – particularly in those parts of the world lacking general aviation," states Mark De Roche, the company's CTO and founder. "Its intuitive operation, low cost, and unique capabilities make it suitable for disaster relief, search and rescue, and patrolling borders and game parks. We believe it will enable low-altitude utility previously unavailable due to cost and training barriers."

The design features an intuitive pilot interface, two-position control bars and a four-wheel gear. The Aero-X hoverbike is around 4.5 m (14.8 ft) in length and 2.1 m (6.8 ft) in width. Some of the additional features being considered for the Aero-X include whole vehicle airbags, flotation pontoons for water operations and Department of Transport-approved transport trailers.

Source Aerofex Via IEEE

About the Author
Lakshmi Sandhana When Lakshmi first encountered pig's wings in a petri dish, she realized that writing about scientists and imagineers was the perfect way to live in an expanding mind bubble. Articles for Wired, BBC Online, New Scientist, The Economist and Fast Company soon followed. She's currently pursuing her dream of traveling from country to country to not only ferret out cool stories but also indulge outrageously in local street foods. When not working, you'll find her either buried nose deep in a fantasy novel or trying her hand at improvisational comedy.   All articles by Lakshmi Sandhana
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21 Comments

Well, this: http://www.gizmag.com/hoverbike/18813/ looks way better, but it seems to be in development hell for lack of funding...

Good luck to Aero-X anyway!

Giolli Joker
19th May, 2014 @ 01:59 am PDT

Of course they are taking deposits 3 years in advance. Their claims are almost certifiably nonsense. Those deposits probably aren't refundable if the company files bankruptcy and if the company fails to deliver in 2017 that might be a likely outcome. They wouldn't be taking deposits for units they don't even project to start shipping until 2017 if they weren't struggling for operating cash.

In the video they have posted they went to the salt flats to string together a bunch of footage of them struggling to go 20 feet at a time. They took 4 seconds of flight time, then ran it in slow mo from 3 different angles and that was a trained driver under very forgiving conditions.

75 minute flight time? "positive impact on agriculture, herd management, and geo-surveying"? They cross the line from exaggeration into nonsense.

Butterfly runs circles around this thing for a lot less money and they actually have models in production now: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3vFaHjrw76I

The ultralight is only 22k assembled and 18k as a kit.

Daishi
19th May, 2014 @ 02:49 am PDT

about 1 mpg

great

wle
19th May, 2014 @ 08:29 am PDT

Bravo, what fun!

I guess that I'd want some screens to keep little fingers out of the way.

Bill

Island Architect
19th May, 2014 @ 08:35 am PDT

Entire RV8 airplanes can be had for ~$85,000, and can go much further, much faster, with better fuel economy. And they can do aerobatics. And are pretty much guaranteed to be delivered and supported for that price.

sleat
19th May, 2014 @ 08:56 am PDT

$85 Grand for another big toy? I don't see anything new here. There have been hovercraft for 50+ years. They may be fun riding in a big wide-open area, but they still can't be controlled well enough to ride in traffic or in a heavy wood.

I'll keep my motorcycle.

John Sorensen
19th May, 2014 @ 09:19 am PDT

Hoverbike, needs safety cage over rotors and jet for speed. not practical as it stands, might check with Boeing for computer controls they use in the F16 type that control functions much better than manual for stability.

Richard Stutheit
19th May, 2014 @ 09:35 am PDT

Two people, but total load of 310 pounds, including fuel. Either two small naked individuals, or the operator isn't counted as part of the load.

Why have four wheels?

nesep
19th May, 2014 @ 09:57 am PDT

Looks like it needs a handlebar basket on it to carry cats in.

Jay Finke
19th May, 2014 @ 11:15 am PDT

Seems useful for lopping off the heads of small animals and children!

Ed
19th May, 2014 @ 11:23 am PDT

This will be loads of fun until the rider spatters across the landscape, especially after falling through one of the fans.

StWils
19th May, 2014 @ 12:50 pm PDT

So...

Going 42 mph with no contact with the ground, how do you stop this thing and how long a distance will it take?

If something solid pops up in front of you and you hit it, how protected are you?

Also, how much dust will this baby kick-up?

I'm thinking this is a nice thought but a terrible idea.

Loving It All
19th May, 2014 @ 02:36 pm PDT

"Low cost". What color is the sky in their world?

REScott
19th May, 2014 @ 02:53 pm PDT

Who tests a helicopter on loose dirt?

I agree with Giolli Joker. At least Malloy has attractive goals.

http://www.gizmag.com/hoverbike/18813/

Is this possible pedaled, using PVC tubing?

Art Toegemann
19th May, 2014 @ 04:40 pm PDT

Won't fit in the bike lane, useless on the trails, add an $85,000 tag on it and what have we got?! A waste of Venture Capital.

greyfox1x
19th May, 2014 @ 05:09 pm PDT

Sounds too risky for me!

The first 'accessory' I would want offered is one of those light plane safety 'chutes - blow one fuse, and it is straight down, baby!

With most ultralights and gyrocopters power failures, you can at least try to glide to a landing!

What happened to that idea of a bike frame with 4 small turbines or something, computer controls varying the thrust for turns and direction?

The Skud
19th May, 2014 @ 07:45 pm PDT

They are being very quiet about the decibel level of the engine's roar. The only video I've seen of this in flight has no audio (intentional?). Patrolliing Game Parks? Poachers (and game) would hear you coming from miles away. Disaster relief? What kind of disaster happens on a nice clean flat plane? Seems that you would only be able to use that thing in very few places. Not urban or suburban and certainly no place where people go to enjoy the serene ambiance of unspoiled nature.

Satweavers
20th May, 2014 @ 08:35 am PDT

Everyone remembers this



Use PVC tubing to make the frame.

The wheels were always curious, serving only to suggest pedal power: how many gears for enough power to rotate propellers.

The similarity to a bicycle suggests piloting by balance, with a learning curve like learning to ride a bicycle.

This patent may still be available.

Art Toegemann
20th May, 2014 @ 10:57 am PDT

On the positive side, no tyre tracks!

Kääriäinen Heikki Haykey
20th May, 2014 @ 01:41 pm PDT

I'd like to volunteer to be the first person to ride one across the US, and then around the world. I ride motorcycles and have my Private Pilots license so I should be qualified. :)

Jack Lowry
21st May, 2014 @ 09:13 am PDT

Decades ago I bought a hovercraft. Kinda fun to ride for the first few hours. But totally impractical. Barely any control. You REALLY need contact with the ground in order to achieve any kind of direction control. This "new" hoverbike is just like that old hovercraft. Totally impractical.

Roger Garrett
24th May, 2014 @ 04:49 pm PDT
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