‘Star Wars’-Style Hoverbike Prepares for Takeoff

June 22, 2011

11:05 am

This is a hoverbike. An actual, working hoverbike, just like the one Luke Skywalker rode across the Tatooine terrain in Return of the Jedi. Australian inventor Chris Malloy has spent the last two and a half years building the working prototype of the bike in his free time.

Equipped with a 1,170cc 4-stroke engine and a carbon-fiber driveshaft, the Malloy Hoverbike can supposedly attain speeds of up to 175 miles per hour and climb to a height of 10,000 feet. Weighing in at 240 pounds, the aircraft takes regular unleaded gas and burns about 8 gallons of fuel per hour. That means it can travel 92 miles on a single tank of gas. Not too shabby.

Driver controls are much like those of a motorcycle. To lift off, the driver increases the thrust via a throttle grip with the right hand. To turn left or right, just push the handle bars down on the side you want to turn.

The Hoverbike is still in the ground testing phase, so it has only undergone tethered tests so far. Although the bike currently achieves liftoff and maintains a controlled hover, its stability untethered remains to be seen. Malloy calls the Hoverbike “very safe,” and fortunately it has two built-in parachutes in case of an emergency.

There aren’t any videos or pictures of the bike in full flight yet, but the still shots reveal that its design is as badass as badass can get. Sleek and sexy, the Hoverbike looks like something straight out of a James Bond movie. Or Batman’s vehicle of choice for his next cruise around Gotham City. See for yourself.

Malloy thinks the bike could eventually replace aircraft used in search and rescue, aerial surveying, firefighting, power line inspection, movie making and aerial cattle mustering (yeah…we didn’t know what that last one was either).

One part dual-propeller helicopter and one part racing motorcycle, the Hoverbike is every daredevil’s dream mode of transportation. The bike is nowhere close to being on the market, but Malloy and his team are soliciting donations to raise money for the next phase of testing. (If you do decide to donate, you’re entered to win a working Hoverbike prototype – score!)

Check out the Hoverbike and all its specs here. Although there’s no videos of the hoverbike in action just yet, you can see the bike in a “smoke test” that demonstrates airflow through the front propeller below.

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Trisha Cruz is a Tech Cocktail intern with a passion for writing and design. She is a rising third year at the University of Virginia majoring in Media Studies and minoring in Studio Art. Follow her at: @heytrisha

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