Alex Atamanov, the venture’s founder, said in an email that the hoverbike is his “lifelong dream.” He became interested in flight through his father, who also devoted himself to engineering and aviation. Atamanov set up his business — which has offices in Moscow and Los Angeles — about 10 years ago. But this year, he said, he sees more promising signs than ever that market for personal air travel is here. He cited efforts by Uber and Airbus to build an air taxi. Why not hoverbikes?
Other companies have been working toward a flying motorcycle for some time, too.
Malloy Aeronautics has designed a vehicle that looks like a flying ping-pong table. The company, which has headquarters in Berkshire, England, claims its Hoverbike can lift 300 pounds, attain heights and speeds like a typical helicopter, and yet operate safely “close to the ground and around people … with little or no training.” It was designed, the company said, based on research carried out by the U.S. military.
Other models use a basic design that is to the two-wheeler what the flounder is to a fish: a motorcycle frame lying on its side with fans instead of wheels that power it upward.
In California, a closely held Los Angeles company called Aerofex has produced a hoverbike called the Aero-X that, the company says, can fly up to 10 feet off the ground at speeds up to 45 miles per hour. It looks like a flying sandal. The company — which says its aircraft can be used for surveying, search and rescue, border patrol, ranching — has patents in Japan, China and the United States.
It may still take a while, however, before any of these things are zipping riders past the top of the Washington Monument like Jedi knights. It’s been almost five years since autoblog.com asked whether Aerofex had “perfected” the hoverbike after the company rolled out footage of test flights in the Mojave Desert.
Still, just maybe the Aero-X or another model of hoverbike will offer a workaround to the subway and Beltway, too. If you live to tell about it.
(Next week: wingsuits.)
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