Australian Builds 170-mph Hovercraft with Motorcycle Engine

Pentagon is interested in tinkerer's invention

By Greg Wilson
|  Friday, Nov 18, 2011  |  Updated 8:52 PM EDT
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Australian Builds 170-mph Hovercraft with Motorcycle Engine

Hover-Bike.com

Australian Christopher Malloy has built the world's first flying motorcycle in his garage.

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An Australian inventor tinkering in his garage has created a flying motorcycle he calls a "hoverbike," which he estimates can reach speeds of 170 miles per hour and an altitude of 10,000 feet.

Christopher Malloy's futuristic vehicle is powered by a 1170 cc, 4-stroke BMW engine and can go nearly 100 miles on one tank of fuel, according to the Daily Mail. So far, he's only tested it while tethered to the ground.

"I am still ground testing at the moment only because I'm not 100 percent sure what will happen so the straps are there to cover the unknown," said Malloy, who plowed his life savings into the project. "I haven't had the pleasure of flying round the countryside yet."

According to Malloy's website, his invention has gotten the attention of some powerful folks. He said Wednesday that officials from the Pentagon visited him in October to check out a demonstration of the Hoverbike.

The one-seater vehicle has a frame of Kevlar-reinforced carbon fiber in between two horizontal spinning propellers constructed from Tasmanian Oak, according to Gizmag. The driver controls it with motorcycle-style handlebars. Malloy says it employs the same basic flying principles as a tandem-rotor Chinook helicopter, in which counter-rotating rotors cancel out each other's torque reaction, eliminating the need for a tail rotor.

He plans to go into full flight testing this summer after some design changes and upgrades have been completed, according to futurecars.com.

Malloy figures the craft could sell for somewhere around $40,000, with the price falling if production increases. In the United States, it would be classified as an ultralite, meaning users would not require a pilot's license.

Malloy hopes to be able to get the Hoverbike into limited production within a year. Oh, and when he finally cuts the tethers, he'll have two parachutes in case something goes wrong.

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