Aircraft

Ground tests complete as world's fastest flying motorcycle seeks racing competition

Ground tests complete as world...
The G2 tandem flying motorcycle - clocked at 138mph on the salt flats
The G2 tandem flying motorcycle - clocked at 138mph on the salt flats
View 14 Images
Dezso Molnar with the GT (left) and G2 (right) flying motorcycles
1/14
Dezso Molnar with the GT (left) and G2 (right) flying motorcycles
The G2 tandem flying motorcycle - yet to be fitted with the top rotor
2/14
The G2 tandem flying motorcycle - yet to be fitted with the top rotor
The G2 tandem flying motorcycle - yet to be fitted with the top rotor
3/14
The G2 tandem flying motorcycle - yet to be fitted with the top rotor
The G2 tandem flying motorcycle - clocked at 138mph on the salt flats
4/14
The G2 tandem flying motorcycle - clocked at 138mph on the salt flats
The G2 tandem flying motorcycle - featuring numerous Suzuki GSX-R1000 parts and a Piaggio MP3 front end
5/14
The G2 tandem flying motorcycle - featuring numerous Suzuki GSX-R1000 parts and a Piaggio MP3 front end
Unfortunate photoshop of the GT in motion
6/14
Unfortunate photoshop of the GT in motion
An early prototype of the G2, before the tilting 2-wheel Piaggio front end was added
7/14
An early prototype of the G2, before the tilting 2-wheel Piaggio front end was added
The GT in flight (stills from a poor video)
8/14
The GT in flight (stills from a poor video)
The GT in flight (stills from a poor video)
9/14
The GT in flight (stills from a poor video)
Dezso Molnar with the GT flying motorcycle
10/14
Dezso Molnar with the GT flying motorcycle
Dezso Molnar and friends with the GT flying motorcycle
11/14
Dezso Molnar and friends with the GT flying motorcycle
Dezso Molnar with the GT flying motorcycle
12/14
Dezso Molnar with the GT flying motorcycle
Dezso Molnar with the G2 flying motorcycle
13/14
Dezso Molnar with the G2 flying motorcycle
Jay Leno inspects the G2 flying motorcycle
14/14
Jay Leno inspects the G2 flying motorcycle

At the intersection of the motorcycle and the gyrocopter lives the flying motorcycle – combining the easy, cheap and safe flying abilities of the gyro with the loose road registration requirements of the motorbike. These quirky machines have been around for some time, but Californian inventor Dezso Molnar is trying to give the segment a kick in the pants. He's well into the development of his next-generation G2 bike, which is powered by a 162-horsepower GSX-R1000 motorcycle engine, uses a tilting two-wheel front end, and has been tested at a whopping 138 mph (222 km/h) on the salt flats. On top of plans to get this thing airborne in the coming months, he's also looking at putting together a race series for flying cars and bikes, in the interests of accelerating development for all the different ideas out there.

Two weeks into my writing career at Gizmag, and some 820 articles ago, I wrote about Larry Neal's SkyCycle, a US$37,000 road-registrable gyrocopter kit – effectively, a flying motorcycle capable of 55 mph on the road or more than 100 mph in the air.

Neal wasn't the only one working on such a concept at the time – one of the others was Californian inventor Dezso Molnar, who made some 30+ successful test flights in a similar road-legal gyro called the GT back in 2005/06.

Why a gyrocopter ... and why a motorcycle instead of a car? The motorcycle question was simple enough; American road registration is much easier to get for experimental motorcycles than cars, the regulations are a lot looser.

As for why a gyrocopter? Simplicity, ease of flight and safety. The key lift generation on a gyro is provided by an unpowered, free-spinning rotor blade on top of the vehicle, meaning that if you're a few hundred feet up in the air and the engine fails, you'll float to the ground even slower than if you had a parachute.

Not to mention, they can take off and land with only 50-100 feet worth of smooth surface as a runway.

Dezso Molnar with the GT (left) and G2 (right) flying motorcycles
Dezso Molnar with the GT (left) and G2 (right) flying motorcycles

Molnar's first-generation GT ran a 650 cc, single cylinder Rotax engine and was capable of some 100 mph on the road. More recently he's been working on the fourth generation G2, which uses a high-powered GSX-R1000 motorcycle engine to power a tandem 2-seater bike that's been tested at some 138 mph on the salt flats. That'll make it the fastest flying motorcycle around, once the G2 is fitted with its flight components.

Dezso G2 El Mirage Ken Brock 2014

Motorcycle enthusiasts will notice several GSX-R components festooning the G2's skeletal frame, from the headlight, to the mirrors and exhaust. They'll also be able to pick the tilting two-wheel front end, which Molnar took from a Piaggio MP3. The Piaggio system has a tilt-lock feature that can help keep the bike vertical at slow speeds. "The desire," says Molnar, "was to be able to split lanes and stay upright without extending the outriggers, which can be done with the two front wheels when locked out of tilt mode. The tilting two-wheel front end also provides unequaled stability on the highway, especially when hitting cracks or ruts which could cause a single wheel to hunt along the rise or depression."

It'd take a better man than I to go lane splitting on a priceless prototype flying motorcycle that looks about 10 feet long, but either way, Molnar is about to start ground-level testing of the propeller drive system, which runs off the same motor as the driven rear wheel, then start reducing weight on the G2 prototype and fitting it with flight gear to get it off the ground.

The G2 tandem flying motorcycle - yet to be fitted with the top rotor
The G2 tandem flying motorcycle - yet to be fitted with the top rotor

"The next step is to return the GT to flight status to produce some good video footage, get the G2 airborne, travel with them, and race them," Molnar tells us. " would like to travel with the G2 from Alaska to Argentina. I am moving towards consistently using flying cars and their cousins for exploration and racing to drive development and provide adventures."

He's also very keen to get other flying motorcycle and car builders involved in racing to develop the breed: "I will be launching the project 'Flying Car Racing' in the coming weeks, to include a new design, and entry-level flying car for a specific racing class to drive development of the art. Engineering for that is in progress."

One of the key beauties of Molnar's design is that it allows both the rear wheel and the flight propeller to be driven off a single, very affordable motorcycle engine. Motorcycle engines are becoming lighter, more reliable and more powerful every year, meaning that upgrading the G2 (for example, to take the 300-horsepower Kawasaki H2 turbo engine) will be a fairly easy exercise.

Molnar is also working on an electric aircraft design that he plans to release as open source for anyone who wants to build it. We look forward to seeing how it develops, and hope he takes a better camera on his Alaska-to-Argentina multi-mode journey!

12 comments
Mel Tisdale
Hold on a minute. Autogyros should not be raced, it is asking for trouble. They have a tendency to lift the nose when flown too fast. A fixed wing pilot will instinctively push the stick forward to drop the nose back down, which is the last thing anyone should do - the very last thing. It forces the air to attack the rotor blade from above instead of below as intended, which it doesn't like at all and reacts accordingly. There is an interesting air accident report on a crash at Farnborough Air Show in 1970. The pdf can be found here: http://www.aaib.gov.uk/cms_resources.cfm?file=/7-1974%20G-AXAR.pdf
zevulon
Loz I love your posts , been following them for years. I also love bikes, trikes, novel flying machines and especially flying cars. Every short rake off roadable vehicle on gizmag over the past 10 years has been either a military vehicle or unrealistically expensive for the public. There was a 4 wheel gyrocopter that seemed promising but it too seemed to be going for super high performance. This is the first vehicle whose design, simplifying the transmission dramatically , seems to not only cut costs but drop total vehicle weight dramatically, allowing for the ' virtuous feedback loop' of down weighting any hybrid craft made for 2 mode operation. For the very first time I'm actually impressed by a flying car design. I'm not surprised its a trike. The only ' popular' quasi-roadable flying vehicles are powered paragliding trikes , and popular as in ultralight flying hobbiest. A gyrocopter seems facially safer than a aerofoil parachute to, particularly if the gyro stores a pop-out parachute for back up ( in a final marketable design)
Knotyboy
Lol... very interesting and I wish them luck. But they are not the first to embark on a venture such as this and very well funded and well engineered projects have failed. Personally this thing looks like a hunk of junk that was welded together in someones garage. Having said that some of the best engineering of the 20th century have been born in garages. I hope they are successful and no one get hurt or killed.
Buellrider
Why show us this thing when it can't yet even fly. Maybe I should mount a propeller to my bum and post an article about how I need funds to make myself the first gyrohumanHybrid.
Jay Finke
Make me wounder if the prop will in combination with the ground power will slow it's top speed ? and am I the only one that thinks this looks like something from the MAD MAX movie.
Milton
Mad Max
VoiceofReason
I'd like to see a more efficient model first. Get rid of the prop and make a 300cc scooter. It will be more like a cockpit and loads of fun even in inclement weather with a thin body. Then use that money to start testing El Unobtainable.
Bruce H. Anderson
@VoiceofReason - I think you are on the right track. Piaggio makes an MP3 (from which they took the front end) with a 500cc engine, although not to my tastes (the 400 is more pleasant to look at). But extend the scooter, lower the seats, and put on a shell and you have something like a Monoracer, but more practical.
Michael Crumpton
If the kickstarter does not work, I am sure that the remake of Road Warrior would love to feature this beauty.
Gregg Eshelman
It doesn't look too sturdy, using a single structural element, the propeller shaft, to connect the front and rear. Whenever the words flying and motorcycle appear together, I think of the motorcycles in Battlestar Galactica: 1980. Btw, if it has more than two wheels, it's not a motorcycle, even though it may qualify for the less restrictive crashworthiness etc regulations.