Illustration for article titled This homemade hoverbike is a real life Star Wars speeder

Australian engineer Chris Malloy has spent his spare money and time building a flying motorcycle he calls the Hoverbike. The Imperial Speeder Bike-like bike could reach 10,000 feet and fly 170 mph when finished.

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Malloy of Sydney told Gizmag the idea for the Hoverbike came up during an argument about what an actual flying motorcycle would look like. Using his garage, he custom-built the carbon-fiber airframe attached to a 107-hp BMW boxer-twin engine. The wood rotors with carbon-fiber edges counter-rotate, allowing Malloy to avoid the vertical blade that would make a flying bike hostile to any human occupant.

Illustration for article titled This homemade hoverbike is a real life Star Wars speeder
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So far, Malloy has constructed the base vehicle and run a few strap-down tests, but needs additional money and know-how to actually put the craft in the air. But so far there's nothing beyond willpower that would keep the vehicle grounded, and Malloy estimates a production version might run about $40,000.

While Malloy has pedestrian uses in mind for his Hoverbike — like monitoring livestock on Australia's massive farms, or inspecting powerlines — we could see this as the starting point for the greatest spec racing series in the history of man. And if he really wants to take off, he should figure out how to add a second seat.

Hat tip to Wowbagger and Will C!

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DISCUSSION

This thing is not dangerous like a cafe racer motorcycle but rather dangerous like becoming friends with grizzly bears and talking to them like they are puppies, just before they eat you.

From a flying stand point it appears to have no lateral static stability. If you were to roll to the left or the right you would you flip upside down and fly towards the ground at a high rate of speed. Flying towards the ground powered by both gravity and propeller thrust is bad.

Helicopters stay in control because they have swash plates which are essentially moveable plates that the rotors are connected to that can change the rotor pitch as it travels through 360 degrees of the rotor disk. Essentially the rotor disk will create more lift on one side allowing the helicopter to bank or pitch forward or back. The tail rotor is just there to control yaw. This monster has not control other than possibly varying power between front and rear props allowing you to flip backwards and forwards. There is no control from side to side. Motorcycles use two wheels because we can balance those two wheels on the solid ground which doesn’t move. Trying to fly this thing would be like balancing a motorcycle but every time you leaned to one side, the ground would tilt in the same direction at an accelerated speed. There are also major gyroscopic forces that would want to kill you to.

You can build your own airplane for $15K and fly it as an ultralight with no license. Airplanes are cool because they glide when you lose power and they like to fly. This monstrosity does not want to fly but would rather kill you in hundreds of different ways.