For more than 50 years, the media have been promising us the personal flight revolution; by 2000 we'd all be getting around in flying cars, cruising down the skyway then touching down, driving home and unloading the shopping. Sadly, most of us are still stuck down here in traffic, but one maverick aviator has successfully taken personal flight into his own hands with a road-registered, high-safety flying motorcycle.
Larry Neal had been selling kit gyroplanes through The Butterfly LLC company for several years - these small, light aircraft take off and land in a very small area, and the unpowered top rotor is even more effective than a parachute in power-loss situations, making them an extremely safe flying option.
Transporting the craft around after landing, however, was always a nuisance. The large rotors required time-consuming disassembly in order to be transported on a trailer, relegating the rotorplanes to hobby status rather than a practical form of transport.
So Neal set about inventing and patenting a foldable rotor system, a rear wheel suspension lowering unit for soft landings, and a transmission that can be switched between driving the rear rotor of the plane, and driving the rear wheels. The result: the Super Sky Cycle, a genuine, registered flying motorcycle.
"The problem with flying cars in the past was what to do with the wings once you were on the ground," said Neal. "With a "fly-drive" gyroplane, just fold the rotor blades and drive on down the road."
"Using rotor blades for the wings of a flying car makes the fly-drive Super Sky Cycle a new kind of vehicle." Neal said. "There's nothing else like it, a gyroplane that can fly at better than freeway speeds, land in 20 feet, be driven home as a motorcycle, and fit in your garage."
This amazing creation is fully road-registerable. Larry Neal conservatively claims it will make 55mph on the road or more than 100mph in the air with the standard engine, using standard pump gasoline. It will fit in a 7 foot high garage, and the process of converting it between fly and drive modes takes minutes. It's an exceptionally safe way to fly, and generally takes only about 10 hours of training to master. Best of all, it's available right now as a kit vehicle for US$37,195, making it an affordable personal transport option.
Several upgrades are available, including a higher powered engine, windscreen and larger fuel tank options, and Larry's working on a 2-seater fully enclosed version, so we look forward to hearing about that when he gets it up and running!
With purchase contacts in Australia/NZ, Japan and the United States, and a business plan focused on expansion and innovation, Neal is showing huge initative in driving the affordable personal flight revolution.
He has beaten all the major automotive and aviation companies to the punch. His concept is proven, registered, safe, affordable and available right now. This is not only an amazing technical innovation, but a pioneering step towards a world where fly/drive vehicles are a practical, affordable transport reality. Bravo!
Check out these videos of the Super Sky Cycle in action.
See the stories that matter in your inbox every morning