Jetpack Aviation’s prototype model of the Speeder, a jet turbine powered flying motorcycle, has successfully completed its first flight test. The flight test consisted of a hover test over tarmac while attached to a tether. Following the success of this flight test, which confirmed the Speeder’s base capabilities, Jetpack Aviation expects to follow up with more intensive flight tests by the end of this summer.
The Speeder is a flying VTOL motorcycle that Jetpack Aviation eventually intends to be able to reach top speeds of over 300 mph (480 kph). Similar to a drone, the Speeder will be electronically self-stabilized, running on a new form of flight control software that has been developed in-house for the last 18 months. According to the California-based company, “the Speeder will be the smallest, fastest, optionally piloted VTOL in the world, enabling multiple applications across emergency, cargo, military, and civil sectors.” The piloting itself is intended to be as simple as possible. Fully stabilized, the Speeder uses a tilt-to-accelerate flight system with hand controls, a two-way radio, and 12-inch touchscreen for navigation. If a pilot plans to fly at the maximum altitude of 15,000 ft, they will need to provide their own supplemental oxygen source.
While not officially decided yet, Jetpack Aviation expects to offer the speeder to commercial, private, and government sectors, and will look to incorporate various designs for each. The Speeder design for personal flight would most likely be an eight engine single-seater, while a military version could be autonomous with a buffed weight limit. In addition, the recreational version looks to have two types available for the consumer based on their personal needs; the Ultralight Version (UVS) and the Experimental Version (EVS). The differences between the two mainly lie in restrictions and requirements: The UVS will be limited to a 5 gallon fuel capacity and 60 mph max speed, but does not require a full pilot’s license like the EVS. Both versions will still require training to fly the motorcycle, and the EVS will also require the purchaser to be part of the manufacturing process in order to comply with FAA regulations on experimental aircraft production. Currently one unit is estimated to cost around $380,000, but is subject to change after the Speeder undergoes further testing and development.
Why it’s important: The success of the Speeder’s first flight test is momentous for Jetpack Aviation. The hover test confirmed the fundamental modes of operation for the Speeder, meaning that the company can now proceed with refining and further developing the Speeder’s maximum capabilities.
Source // New Atlas.