Jetpack Aviation the makers of personal jetpacks is on track to introduce the world’s first flying motorcycle. The company recently announced the successful test flight of its first fully functional prototype. The flying motorcycle will feature the same jet engines used on personal jetpacks, albeit more powerful, mated to a futuristic flying motorcycle chassis that looks like something out of a sci-fi movie.
To accomplish the monumental task of getting the prototype into the air, Jetpack Aviation had to write its own flight-control software program that monitors and adjust thrust to keep machine stable during flight. The work took a year and a half to perfect the program, which enables a design that is highly unstable otherwise to be stabilized during flight. It can take off and land vertically from any urban surface from the same space taken up by a car and it can also be programmed to fly autonomously.
Jetpack Aviation plans to create two consumer versions for everyday use, an ultralight version which may not require a pilot’s license and an experimental category version. The ultralight version will be limited by FAA regulations to 60mph with a flight time of 15 minutes and should be ready for customers in two years. On the other hand, the experimental version will require a pilot’s license and achieve top speed of 250 mph with a flight time of 35 minutes. The experimental version should be available about six months after the introduction of the ultralight version according to the company.
The final design of the flying motorcycle will be somewhat different from the images being circulated. Instead of four turbines as seen the photos, the production versions will have eight turbines with two mounted at each corner of the bike. The reason for eight engines is to provide safety and redundancy in the event of an engine failure during flight. Each engine will produce enough power to lift the 300 pound vehicle into the air and allow it to transport up to 600 pounds. A handlebar fitted out with hand controls, a 12-inch navigation screen and a radio system allow the pilot to control and navigate the motorcycle.
Currently the prototype will continue further testing this summer and fall of 2021, with the production versions entering testing sometime in early 2022. Jetpack is pioneering the development of flying motorcycles and envisions not only personal applications but commercial and military as well with larger versions able to fly farther, faster and carry more weight. The company has already begun preorders on the consumer versions with a price tag of around $381,000 per unit.