One of the craziest moto-projects of the past few years appears ready to be real-world tested, with news that JetPack Aviation has enough funding to build a working prototype of its “flying motorcycle.”
Dubbed the Speeder, this airborne vehicle has the riding position of a motorcycle, but is equipped with a turbine propulsion system that also allows vertical take-off and landing. It can be controlled by the rider (pilot?) or can also work autonomously.
JetPack started promoting this design in the spring, looking to raise funding. It sounds like a sci-fi idea, but in the past few months, the company says it has raised $2 million, enough to build a working prototype.
Given the increasing number of crowd-funded vapourware scams, you’d think JetPack would have struggled to raise the money. However, it’s got the advantage of having built an actual FAA-approved jetpack (see it here), which shows it can follow through on projects that others may dismiss as silly.
It should come as no surprise that JetPack is aiming at military contracts for the Speeder, but it’s also working on a recreational version with impressive capability. JetPack says the Speeder’s stabilization systems mean pilots will need minimal training—but make no mistake, there will be training required. JetPack plans to sell an Ultralight Version which requires no pilot’s licence; JetPack will provide the training. This version of the craft will be limited to five gallons of fuel, and a 60 mph top speed. There will also be an Experimental Version which will require a private pilot’s licence (more details at the JetPack website). This version will travel as fast as 150 mph.
All very crazy stuff indeed! The next big question is: if the Speeder makes tire arguments irrelevant down the road, can we start arguing about rotors or turbines instead?