The lure to join Darth Vader’s evil Imperial Empire must have been strong for riders of the Imperial Speeder Bike. Not only did these guys get the coolest helmets, they also got the coolest mode of transport. That’s almost enough to make you forget that your boss was an evil megalomaniac with respiratory problems.
An Australian inventor called Chris Malloy has spent the last two and a half years building his very own Imperial Speeder bike-like hoverbike in his garage at home. Oddly, the seed idea for his creation came from his helicopter instructor, who had likened the R22 helicopter to an airborne motorbike. Disagreeing with his instructors analogy, Malloy set about creating something that really was like an airborne motorcycle.
The Hoverbike is powered by an 1170cc 4 stroke engine which is mounted just forward and below the rider – just like a motorcycle. The engine produces 107 horsepower (80kW), and drives the two ducted fan propellers. The propellers spin in opposite directions to each other, which means the Hoverbike doesn’t need an additional tail rotor to prevent it constantly spinning on its own axis.
The main body of the Hoverbike has been built using Kevlar reinforce carbonfiber. The propellors are constructed from Tasmanian Oak with a carbon fiber leading edge.
Just like a motorcycle, the primary controls of the Hoverbike are all done through the handlebars. The right grip is used to control power, while the left grip is used to control the vanes positioned under the rotors. These vanes are used to pitch the nose down for forward flight, or up for backward flight. Turning the Hoverbike left and right is achieved by simply turning the handlebars left or right.
Mathmatical calculations using the Hoverbike’s weight and thrust measurements say that the aircraft’s flight ceiling is around 10,000 feet (3,050 meters), and that it should be capable of reaching speeds of up to 173 mph (278 km/h or 150 knots). Those figures haven’t been verified yet though as the Hoverbike has only undertaken tethered flights.
Malloy is currently working on installing a gyro system which should significantly improve the Hovebike’s stability and make it easier to fly.
Amazingly, due to the Hoverbike’s weight of just 110 kgs (242 lbs), if the Hoverbike makes it to production, which I sincerely hope it does, then it will be classed as an ultralight in the US. That means you won’t even need a pilot’s license to fly it!
More details on the amazing Hoverbike project can be found at hover-bike.com.