How do you control the Hoverbike?
- To lift off into a hover, one needs to increase the thrust via a throttle grip with the right hand - exactly the same as the throttle on a motorbike
- To fly forward a combination involving an increase in thrust and the deflection of air from the front control vanes (twisting the left handle grip) will tilt the total thrust vector forward resulting in an acceleration forwards (twist back to go backwards)
- To to make the bike roll (turn) left and right, all one needs to do is push the handle bars down on the side you wish to turn (handle bars work just like a bicycle, but with an extra axis so that they rotate up and down a little) - you could lean in the appropriate direction just like a motorbike, but this is proving to be not as sensitive as one would expect or like.
- Yaw (nose left or right) is via control vanes front and rear and actuated by turning the handle bars - just like a bike
How safe is the Hoverbike?
- Very safe. The hoverbike was designed with safety as the over-riding factor in all design. If you have ever flown and pre-flight checked a helicopter you will appreciate the simplicity of this design. With so many parts on a helicopter - and a large number of single parts that could alone cause catastrophic disaster if they should fail - it is just a matter of time. The hoverbike has as many components as possible with triple redundancy which requires at least 2 other components to fail before you might have a serious airborne failure. This combined with a massive reduction in total parts (compared to a helicopter) and the hoverbike becomes safer and cheaper.
- 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
- The propeller blades will have on the next revision (and certainly the final product sold) a fine mesh over the entire ducting, which will stop any wandering hands or large debri from entering the duct.
How stable is the Hoverbike?
- Great! With the limited ground testing done thus far the hoverbike has preformed exactly as predicted. In comparison to a helicopter the hover is less sensitive to input and inherently stable. Contrary to popular belief, having greater mass above the centre of pressure does not mean an unstable craft (yes it is less inherently stable than below) A good point of comparison is with fixed wing aircraft, which you can crudely put in three categories - wing above (mass hanging below), wing below (mass sitting above) and wing in the centre - all have their benefits and tradeoffs
Why is it strapped to the ground during flight tests?
- Because we do not know 100% what might happen during testing the straps are there to cover the unknown. The hoverbike is quite stable and does not want to tip over, however if something unplanned happens during testing we don't want to break our prototype!
How high/fast has it flown?
- We're still in the ground testing phase, which means we haven't had the pleasure of flying around the countryside - yet!
- Helicopters and ducted fan designs have upper limits to their airspeed imposed in part due to the physical dynamics of the airflow over the forward edge of the duct or fan resulting in a increase in lift on the front causing the aircraft nose to rise and therefore slow the forward airspeed. The hoverbike is not immune from this effect, however the basic design is such that it should reach 150knts. Given the thrust to weight ratio (remember its all about the thrust to weight), the hover ceiling is greater than 10,000ft. In theory you could go higher, but you need oxygen to do so - also there is not much point, as the hoverbike is designed for safe low level aerial work
Why a two blade propeller?
- In short - cost, and efficiency (single blade is the most efficient prop). The next revision will have a five blade propeller to reduce prop noise and loading, while keeping current thrust and propeller diameter.
How heavy can you be to fly?
- 130kg with 45mins flight time. The Hoverbike has plenty of thrust, so like everything it's a trade-off - more weight means less fuel and stability.
When will I be able to buy a Hoverbike
- We would like to you buy a hoverbike now, but lets be honest - this takes time to get right. To help speed this up so you can own one, we need funding and man-hours. This bike was built over 2 1/2 years by one person in his car garage after work and studies, and building it is only 10% of the way there. Testing testing and testing needs to be done and we need collective help from you!
- If you would like to buy a prototype now, and do your own testing, please feel free to contact us to discuss.
How much will it cost
- We are not in the production phase yet, so we cannot give you a finalized price structure, but as a guide, when we can sell at least 100 units a year the cost with current material prices and labor will be $45,000AUD +/-$5000. As with all goods, economy of scale will bring the price down. At 1000 units a year the cost will be similar to a performance motorcycle! (on-going development cost due to testing may vary this a little)
- If you would like to buy a prototype now, and do your own testing - or just to help us quicken the development time with extra funding, please feel free to contact us to discuss.
Do you need to have a pilots license to fly the Hoverbike?
- Having previous experience in a helicopter or plane would be a great help. That said, this is a new way to fly and one would need to learn to ride the hoverbike in much the same manner as a helicopter or riding a motorcycle. If you live in the USA or your country has similar civil aviation regulations, then the hoverbike will be classed as a 'ultralite' which means you do not need a pilots license to fly the hoverbike.
How can I get involved?
- If you're passionate about flight and think you can volunteer some help in a meaningful way please contact us via the contacts page. While we are unable to employ people for the following positions due to the limited funding gained at this early stage, we will seek to find a suitable arrangement with anyone willing to help further this great design.
- Funding. What we need are passionate logical visionaries. People who can help will realize that this is so close to a viable working machine, and that we/I cannot do it in any reasonable time on my current budget of $200-300 a week. The trick is finding somebody not driven purely by profit, but one that realizes that a great product properly driven will be the key to success (and profit).
- Engineering. You don't have to live in Sydney Australia to get involved! If you have a aeronautical engineering background, with experience in computational fluid dynamics to help model the designs, to limit the amount of empirical testing that needs to be done as ducted fans are tricky to model and there only a few people out there with 'real' experience in this field – especially lifting bodies. please contact us.