The measure of: Speeder flying motorcycle
Image credit: Cover Images
LA-based Jetpack Aviation (JPA) has introduced its flying motorcycle, the Speeder, which it expects to be commercially available by 2023.
According to JPA, the Speeder has completed the first test flight of its one-third scale prototype called P1. JPA completed five months of testing in May 2021 when the company attained certain benchmarks in the Speeder’s ability to take off, climb, hover, or even do turns.
Billed as a jet-powered, vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) aircraft, the Speeder, “will be just like riding a motorcycle, but in the sky!” says JPA.
The Speeder is an engineering feat that required JPA to write its own flight-control software program to monitor and adjust the thrust. The benefit of that work, which took a year and a half, is described as an intuitive system that functions like a typical motorcycle and automatically stabilises the machine in flight. It can take off and land vertically from most surfaces in roughly the space taken up by a car, and it can be programmed to fly autonomously, its developers say.
Although the original design projected four turbines (as shown in the images), the final product will have eight, two at each corner of the bike, to provide safety through redundancy. They will also offer a size-to-payload ratio that sets the Speeder apart from other VTOL craft. The air cycle also has hand controls, a 30cm navigation screen and a radio system.
Testing is expected to begin in early 2022. For all its operations, including future testing, JPA has made a deal with Prometheus Fuels to use their 100 per cent zero-net-carbon fuel.
In additional to the ultralight Recreational Speeder, future planned designs include commercial versions for military and public safety organisations that will have detachable wings for increased range, storage compartments to hold fire retardant, and space to carry medical personnel and equipment or injured passengers.
Empty weight: 105kg
Max thrust (ISA) – maximum thrust can vary depending on density altitude: 320kg
Max speed: >240km/h
Minutes endurance (dependent on pilot weight and density altitude): 10-22
Operating ceiling: 15,000ft
Fuel (in Ultralight Version): 18.9 litres
Flying speed (Ultralight version): 96km/h
Base price (personal version): $380,000
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