Imagine a world where motorcycles were never invented. In this parallel universe nobody made the leap from human-powered bicycle to a motor-driven two-wheeler. We made it all the way to 2021 without bikes and riders and iron horses and ATGATT. If that were the case and someone pitched the idea of a motorcycle to the world, invariably every government on the planet would call the idea ludicrous and immediately ban the thing from ever getting off the ground.
I think that’s where we stand right now with so-called ‘flying motorcycles’ because this should immediately be shitcanned as a horrible and untenably unsafe idea. Government intervention is needed to save humanity from its own stupidity, because this is the dumbest and most dangerous shit I have ever seen. Dissolve the company, dismantle every piece of equipment they have actually produced (probably none), and require every investor and early adopter sending them money to go see a fucking therapist.
Back in 2019 Jetpack Aviation started showing off renderings of a flying motorcycle. If you ask my opinion, it was vaporware back then and it continues to be vaporware today, but according to a recent Robb Report article, the company says it will have a commercially viable flying motorcycle ready for sale in 2023. Sure, Jan. While I don’t believe the timeline, I’m afraid that these things will eventually come to fruition.
I already do a whole lot of mental gymnastics to convince myself that I’ll be safe on a motorcycle ride. I’ve taken courses, passed tests, and ridden several thousand miles to get that level of comfort on two wheels. And even after all that, I’m not immune from mistakes. A low-speed mistake on a bike and I’m recovered in a week or so, but if a squid in a tank top misses his marks and runs headlong into the 50th floor of a downtown skyscraper there’s no getting up from that and dusting yourself off. If I run out of fuel, I just coast to a stop, whereas this thing will just fall out of the sky.
Maybe the scariest part of this is found in the small print of the Jetpack website. “The Ultralight Version (UVS) will not require a pilot’s license to operate – all training will be provided by JPA or one of our authorized training centers. The Ultralight version will be limited to carrying 5 gallons of fuel and to 60 mph flying speed.” It is also said to be capable of operating at 15,000 feet! Neat.
The other version, an experimental class operation that requires an FAA license, is allegedly capable of 250 miles per hour. To circumvent FAA rules around experimental aircraft, buyers of this version are required to assist in the final assembly of the vehicle so that it can be considered operator constructed. This one is also allowed to carry more fuel onboard for a flight time of 35 minutes or so.
According to Jetpack, the vehicle will be delivered with a 12-inch navigation screen and an audio system. If anyone thinks they can hear any audio while flying through the air on a personal VTO machine with eight (!) thrust turbines, they’re the true suckers. Apparently these machines will cost just shy of $400,000 and some idiots are already putting deposits down on them. Aside from being dangerous and scary as shit (15,000 feet!) these specs are totally speculative and the bikes don’t even exist.
I’ll believe it when I see it. And then I’ll try to dismantle it so nobody can ever operate them.