The Hoverbike Moves to Kickstarter - The new quadrotor version is available as a scaled down prototype

Hoverbike drone scale model of full size flying motorcycle prototype

Hoverbike drone, a scale model of the full size flying motorcycle prototype

Do you remember Chris Malloy and his Hoverbike? It was just over three years ago when we wrote about his attempts to build a twin rotor, BMW powered flying motorcycle of sorts. The conversation following that article was quite entertaining, and I think you'll be happy to know, Chris is still around and working on his idea.

The original twin rotor Hoverbike

The original twin rotor Hoverbike

His original twin rotor has morphed into a quad rotor design, due to the rapidly developing technology for controlling four rotor drones and he has come up with a quad rotor drone of his own, a scaled down version of his new prototype as a proof of concept and he's put that on Kickstarter to help raise funds for his full size project as well as giving you the opportunity to fly your own hoverbike drone.

Looks like the speeders from Star Wars doesn't it?

Looks like the speeders from Star Wars doesn't it? Now, if he can just make the full size version work ...

If you read through Chris' website, you'll see he's aiming the full size, human carrying model at a market for very utilitarian purposes, where farmers, ranchers, surveyors and even the military can use it instead of small helicopters. He's been at this for several years and he's making progress. He's not there yet, but it does have promise.

Like many of you, I would love to see the Hoverbike get off the ground, so to speak, and his company, Malloy Aeronautics, may be the one to successfully build a working version where others have gone astray. I certainly hope so, but only time, and a whole lot of perseverance, will tell. And yes, I want one.

Link: Malloy Aeronautics and Kickstarter

Full size quad rotor version prototype under construction

Full size quad rotor flying motorcycle prototype under construction

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Comments

  1. Yeti2bikes says

    When I was a little kid Popular Science magazine promised me flying cars and jet packs. I’d settle for a hover bike.

    • Mean Monkey says

      RE: Popular Science,

      Yeah Yeti,
      I’m hoping to ride one of these sometime in my life (in my 60’s) as well as a stay at that Hilton Hotel they promised on the Moon, too.

  2. MXG says

    Sooner or later, somebody somewhere, will make this flying dream come true. Have no doubt of that. Best of luck to Mr. Malloy on being that man!

  3. Nicolas says

    No more commute problem …

    The design of the rotors outside “case” carrying the other rotor’s motor is very neat, but now, does the shared rotor surface create some loss of lift/turbulent air flow ?

    • GenWaylaid says

      Nicolas,

      It all depends on which way the rotors are turning and how many blades they have.

      Aircraft have been using contra-rotating propellers since the 1940s, but if they’re not designed just right then the effect of a blade on the back chopping through the wake of a blade on the front can be severe vibration. For a few prototypes, it was enough to rattle a propeller off in flight.

      The Russian Kamov company makes helicopters with coaxial counter-rotating blades, but they have to be widely separated to avoid wake interaction. I think this hover-bike is more likely to employ the approach use by the American company Kaman, in which partially overlapping rotors pass through the same space at different times.

      If the rotors rotate in opposite directions, such that the blades on both sides are moving forward in the overlapping region (or both moving back), and there are no more than three blades per rotor, then the rotors can be aligned such that only one blade is sweeping through the overlap region at a time. The downside is that in order to maintain that rotor alignment, adjustments to maintain roll stability have to be made through blade pitch, rather than rotor spin rate.

      • mike says

        Am confident that his scaled down prototype is accomplishing stability by rotor speed only and not collective pitch or flap. Most of the electronics available for these small quad rotors are an integrated multi speed controll/mixer/multi gyro combo. Not saying the components aren’t available to make conventional rotor control quads, we have a couple , but they’re rare, much heavier and much more complicated.

  4. says

    Hover or FLY? Where are the bumpers? I ask that because hovercraft do not have very good stopping power, tight turns non-existent, as are sudden changes in direction, all things I look for when I ride. Those blades add a new dimension to the phrase “I fell off my bike”… And after all that I’d still love to ride one!

  5. Giolli Joker says

    The design of the original prototype was, aesthetically speaking, a work of art… this new version, although probably better from the stability point of view, isn’t yest that appealing.
    Anyway, good luck Mr Malloy!!!

  6. Mark Horsey says

    What if we abduct all these engineering genious types & lock them in a huge shed,with every resource, tool, materials, & computer they want , then we all wait at the end door to see what rolls out ? I”m serious , just imagine what they can imagine !!!!!

    • Rob says

      Sound like human rights abuse to me :) I can see the attraction of having all the brains in one place but internet lets us share ideas no matter how far apart we are. I think we are all in the same ‘shed’ now and indeed some interesting things will roll out. The skill and passion that is required to build stuff needs to be fostered carefully.

  7. Onerpm says

    With a set of styrofoam pontoons this will take me to some real nice remote fishing holes. Places that a four wheeler or dirt bike might take me but then I’m still without a boat.
    I love it!

  8. mk says

    I too wish this was working, but he is very far from having something that the usual “guy” can buy and ride.
    I also see problems with the “overlap” on the new design. The noise and vibrations from those area just are bad in the long run.

    So eventually, I see the 4 fans being spread out (as in other small models).

  9. Thomas lewis says

    Its basically a multicopter,that is reconfigured ,motors,batteries,and the software for fly by wire are all available off the shelf.Here’s one,similiar in design flying already [ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TtylFugOT_4 ] A better idea might be a small pod,single seat,landing legs, with four electric motors and props,fixed pitch above the pilot,it can be built with a ballistic chute as well,something you can’t do on a conventional helicopter.Safe,efficient and fun using off the shelve components,6061 tubing,plate,a rivet gun,glue and away you go.I like the idea.

  10. says

    Hello.

    In my humble opinion the principle of the Hoverbikes (as well as of the JetPacks) is fundamentally wrong. Spectacular yes, but not a good or practical solution of the problem.

    The birds and the bats and the bugs can fly only because their bodies can provide enough power for their weight.
    The weight of a man cannot be decreased. In order to fly, a man needs more power than what his / her body can provide.

    The more the power and the less the weight of the “Flyer”, the better.
    Anything that adds weight (frame / casing, controls, exhausts etc, etc) should be avoided / eliminated.

    If the complete Flyer is really lightweight and powerful and reliable and efficient, and if the arrangement is by itself stable and smooth and controllable, this could be a solution.

    When I want to fly, what I need is neither a vehicle, nor sensors, nor transmission shafts, nor differentials, nor servomechanisms, not even a seat.
    What I do need is more power.
    My body is the vehicle and the sensors, and the servomechanisms and the landing system, just like the bodies of the birds, bats and bugs.

    On this principles they are based the Portable Flyer projects of pattakon wherein:

    Two counter rotating crankshafts share the same combustion chamber keeping perfectly rid of inertia vibrations and of combustion vibrations the basis.
    The arrangement is such that the basis (i.e. the rider / pilot) is rid of reaction torque even at extreme changes of revs and load.
    The arrangement is such that the Portable Flyer is rid of “gyroscopic rigidity”: with the symmetric counter-rotating propellers (and crankshafts), the total gyroscopic rigidity (or stabilization) is zero, i.e. the rider can “instantly” (as instantly as with the propellers stopped) vector the thrust to the desirable direction.
    As aerodynamic “controls” the rider / pilot can use his feet, hands, head and body just like the wing-suiters do.

    For more: take a look at the “Portable Flyer” in the pattakon web site.

    Thanks
    Manolis Pattakos

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