The company that floated the idea of a flying motorcycle, called the Speeder, JetPack Aviation, says it has the cash, $2 million, to make its flying motorcycle real. Company founder and CEO David Mayman told Tech Crunch that all systems were go on building a flying motorcycle, and that the military was interested in just such a product.
For the record, the vehicle is a “motorcycle” only in that it kind of looks like a motorcycle, and the pilot straddles it like one would the groundbound version. It’s not intended to be motorcycle that flies but an aircraft that resembles a motorcycle. Some of the claims surrounding the proposed product are absurd, such as a potential 400 mph top speed—good luck holding on with that kind of headwind, not to mention, as one commenter did, that a good-sized flying bug would pack lethal force at that speed. Still, Mayman has successfully built a jetpack—hence the name of the company—and he’s doing a few things right, like going with a turbine engine instead of electric power.
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Even then, the fuel capacity of something that size would be critically small, making it the shortest of short-haul solutions. And forget about 400 mph; Mayman is saying it’ll be closer to a Skyhawk than a Citation, at around 150 mph, a velocity at which bug strikes are more survivable. Another claim, that it would be highly portable is hard to imagine. You’d need a hefty dolly just to lug the engine around.
Finally, the company’s claim of 20-30 minutes of flight time is baffling. Turbines suck fuel at low altitudes and a 1200 lb thrust engine, think Williams FJ-33, burns around 70 gph at 28,000 feet and exponentially more at low altitudes.
No word on when the Speeder will be doing its first speeding. We’ll keep you posted.