Scientists are making hoverboards, jetpacks and flying cars. What other futuristic, Hollywood-style modes of transport can they cook up? Teleportation devices? We wish. But they have engineered something rather wacky: a Star Wars-style flying bike, complete with your very own lightsaber. Just kidding. But the craft is real.
Imaginatively named “Flike,” the invention is actually more of a hovering tricycle, but the concept is still pretty cool. Development was initiated less than a year ago by flight enthusiasts working for Hungarian non-profit Bay Zoltan. It took engineers just six months to get a prototype demonstrator in the air, and a further three to complete the first manned flight.
Concept Image of Flike.
So what exactly is this flying tripod? According to Flike’s website, the craft is a “coaxial, Y6-layout tricopter.” This means that it gets off the ground using three pairs of rotors, which are equally distributed around a circle. The pilot straddles the middle of the craft and controls it by changing the speed of individual rotors. In doing so, operators can supposedly make it do what any helicopter is capable of doing: hovering, drifting, spinning, turning, diving, etc. But they also claim it’s as easy as riding a bicycle... hmm…
Environmentalists will be pleased to know that it’s zero-emission by design, running on Lithium Polymer batteries. But even when, or if, they make it through the prototype phase, it seems unlikely that you’ll be zooming across the country in one as they can only cruise for around half an hour and hover time is just 15 minutes. There is also the issue of the pilots being alarmingly close to the rotors, and the whole thing looks a touch wobbly, so let’s hope no one suffers any serious injuries playing Jedi.