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Malloy Aeronautics Hoverbike Under Development

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Even if you are not a photographer or RC enthusiast, you may be aware that there have been great advancements in consumer helicopter drones.  Ten years ago, you needed to be an expert “pilot” to operate an RC helicopter, but advances in computer control with gyros means many modern drones can be controlled easily by a novice.

Malloy Aeronautics is developing the “Hoverbike” utilizing a BMW R1200R Boxer engine financed, in part, by a Kickstarter campaign. Although initially featuring two rotors (front and rear of the rider), the latest 1/3 scale prototype has four rotors, and flys rather well as you can see in the videos below. Will many of us be commuting via helicopter drone in the near future? Here is what Malloy Aeronautics has to say about the Hoverbike:

A Revolution in Aviation

The Hoverbike is the result of years worth of R&D. We combined the simplicity of a motorbike and the freedom of a helicopter to create the world’s first flying motorcycle.When compared with a helicopter, the Hoverbike is cheaper, more rugged and easier to use – and represents a whole new way to fly. The Hoverbike flies like a quadcopter, and can be flown unmanned or manned, while being a safe – low level aerial workhorse with low on-going maintenance.

Goal

The Hoverbike has been designed from the very beginning to replace conventional helicopters such as the Robinson R22 in everyday one man operational areas like cattle mustering and survey, not just for the obvious fact that it is inefficient and dangerous to place complex conventional helicopters in such harsh working environments but also from a practical commercial position in which bringing to market a cheaper better product will not only take over the existing market but can open it up to far more new customers who before could not afford the upfront costs of a typical helicopter and the very expensive and often unlooked for mantainace costs.

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.

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. We believe that the best step forward is just that – a single step forward. Nature and commercial history tells us this best.

37 Comments

  1. Skif says:

    I wonder what the horn sounds like?

  2. PatrickD says:

    I think they got a hurry-up, as Marty McFly saw these things when he jumped forwards to November 2015 in the second film…

  3. GuppyFish says:

    As a 1/3 scale prototype, it’s volume (and mass) mass is therefore (1/3 x 1/3 x 1/3 = .037%) less than four percent of the full-size aircraft. Even an 80% scale model is less than 50% of the mass of full-scale. One-third scale makes a cool demo and video, but it’s a very, very long way from reality.

    • Rich says:

      Your decimals are off once you converted to % – that s/b 3.70%.

      • GuppyFish says:

        Decimals are fine, however I confess to the typo “%”. But I did say “therefore… less than four percent.”

  4. david says:

    What happens when the engine quits? (and one will sooner or later)

    • Jeremy in TX says:

      “What happens when the engine quits? (and one will sooner or later)”

      Then ATGATT takes on a whole new meaning.

  5. Tom Shields says:

    Wow, the first paragraph under “Goal” is one big long sentence. Someone at Mallory needs a copy editor! 🙂 (And a spell checker.)

  6. Gary says:

    I think it could be great fun, but I won’t be among the early adopters. Loads of things to go wrong. Plus, I wonder how far it will take you on a gallon of petrol?

  7. Gutterslob says:

    All we need now are trees and ewoks.

  8. Ricardo says:

    More work for the government and lawyers, privacy laws, air space laws, traffic laws, bla bla bla. It wiill nat take off due to these issues…

  9. takehikes says:

    but where can you put the giant bags?
    It wont be a week before some idiot falls in to the prop.

    • Norm G. says:

      re: “It wont be a week before some idiot falls in to the prop.”

      OMG that’s funny. LOL messy, but funny.

  10. Norm G. says:

    re: “The Hoverbike flies like a quadcopter”

    okay but quadcopter or hovercraft…? the term “copter” implies a vehicle that doesn’t depend on ground effect for lift.

  11. Norm G. says:

    re: “Malloy Aeronautics is developing the “Hoverbike” utilizing a BMW R1200R Boxer engine”

    hmmmn is that going to be enough…? i like BMW and all, but seems like with fixed pitch props that small, you’re going to need an engine with more transient RPM response and specific output (and i mean ALOT more) than what that engine is capable of to maintain attitude control and hover simultaneously. thinking a 4-6 piston Continental at a minimum with triple the rating…? dunno.

    • GKS says:

      It requires a drive system that can independently vary the lift generated by each rotor as required by the flight computer/stabilization control. This could be achieved via a complex variable mechanical drive to each rotor, variable pitch rotors or much more simply, independent electric motors with electronic speed controls linked to the flight computer.
      As far as power requirements, there are ultralight helicopters flying with less hp from 2 cylinder 2-stroke Rotax motors. It will all depend on the aircraft weight and desired payload. Conventional aircraft engines such as Continental or Lycoming are rather heavy for their rated output, perhaps a small Solar turbine.

      • Norm G. says:

        re: “As far as power requirements, there are ultralight helicopters flying with less hp from 2 cylinder 2-stroke Rotax motors.”

        yup, now tell me the dimensions of the prop/airfoil.

        • GKS says:

          Airfoil load (lbs/sq ft)would be roughly equal for a single rotor or divided by four or six (or whatever). If mechanical drive is used, more rotors equal more driveline loss naturally.
          BTW- a o-360 four cylinder Lycoming makes 180 hp and the dry weight is 258 lbs.

      • Norm G. says:

        re: “complex”

        translation: added weight, added power requirements.

        full stop.

  12. Tommy D says:

    I’m RC enthusiast that has moved into First Person View (FPV) flying rather than line of site. The biggest advancement in this industry also links really well into motorcycling. The integration of a flight computer which uses 6 axis sensors to detect acceleration/movement that is unwanted and helps dial it out. It also can be set up with parameters to help novices not crash by eliminating unwanted flight characteristics like ending up inverted. This small group of chipsets is an open source victory of progress. With so many working on their spare time adding features the technology has become adopted for many flying “toys” in the industry at a very low cost. Now things like GPS return to home and many flight modes are available.

    How is this connected to motorcycling? That new R1 is using the same technology of integrating 6 axis sensors to dampen out unwanted ride characteristics. This fly by wire is quickly showing up in a lot of areas without much additional cost.

    Regarding the hover bike… I agree with the auto-rotation statement. Better wear a parachute!

  13. Provologna says:

    As an acoustics person, I’m thinking the noise level from the spinning props is gonna be a lot louder than the motor…louder that air noise from high freeway speeds on a land-based bike.

    At our local Logan, Utah Summer Fest (music and art) I flipped off the camera in the drone copter buzzing overhead. Obnoxious beyond description.

  14. azi says:

    I remember in the ’70s when hovercraft were predicted to replace cars and boats.

  15. dino says:

    Needs more chrome… Maybe some flames or skulls in the paint… Maybe skulls WITH flames, coming out of the skull! Now that’s a flying cycle!

  16. JacksonV says:

    I’m puzzled.
    How on earth could a quadcopter be less complex and safer than a conventional helicopter?
    Helicopters can do autorotation landing in case of engine failure but, this thing can’t.
    I’d say an ultra light autogyro would be a better solution than this.

  17. Noah Key says:

    If the rotors were above the rider, it would be more stable, like a Chinook.

  18. Noah Key says:

    It’s the first 1:1 scale human carrying drone.

    • GKS says:

      The Hoverbike has not flown as a full scale, manned aircraft. They only have a 1/3 scale model which really does no more than the glut of inexpensive multirotors flooding the market now. However, there is a company in Germany that has flown a full scale man carrying prototype called the Volocopter.

  19. Grover says:

    it would be nice to see man-carrying vehicles like this, but the reality is that they would be very expensive and regulated by the FAA. Remember ultralights and what happened when they were put into the hands of unlicensed “pilots”? The technology will soon be here but will surely be tightly regulated.

  20. dave says:

    What has this got go do with motorcycles?
    .