Ever since the original Stars Wars first implanted the idea in our heads, the desperate desire for a personal hovercraft has weighed heavy on the minds of many. There have been many close attempts to replicate the thrill of a landspeeder, but none have succeed until now.
Recently Manhattan Beach aerospace engineering firm Aeroflex released a video of their first prototype’s test flight. Similar to other hovercrafts, this model uses large powerful fans to generate the necessary amount of lift. However, what sets the Aeroflex single-seater apart from any previous attempts is the intricate stabilization controls, which makes the bike so intuitive to drive that anybody can do it.
The bike, which was demonstrated in the Mojave Desert, can now get up to 30mph and hover as high as 15 feet. As the below video demonstrates the basic control of the bike is performed by the rider’s natural body movement. Much like banking a motorcycle through a corner, the hover bike response to the same type of human body English for navigating through turns.
However, like most amazing feats of engineering this piece of technology is slated to be snapped up by the military. Aerofex founder Mark De Roche thinks it could be used for reconnaissance through rocky canyons, heavily wooded areas, and swamplands. The hover bike offers the unique ability to travel over terrain that would otherwise be impossible to traverse using wheels or caterpillar tracks.
The current model looks a little bulky and cumbersome, but future models will no doubt be lighter weight and more streamlined. So it might not be right around the corner, but the prospect of driving a hover bike to work is now looking more feasible than ever.