Flying bicycle gets off the ground in Prague

Flying bicycle gets off the gr...
The F-Bike takes flight in Prague
The F-Bike takes flight in Prague
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The F-Bike takes flight in Prague
The F-Bike takes flight in Prague
A rendered view of the F-Bike design
A rendered view of the F-Bike design
A total of six rotors give the F-Bike the lift it needs
A total of six rotors give the F-Bike the lift it needs
A test flight with human passenger could happen in the fall
A test flight with human passenger could happen in the fall
One design concept featured two vertical rotors
One design concept featured two vertical rotors
Top view of the F-Bike
Top view of the F-Bike
Passenger view of F-Bike's controls
Passenger view of F-Bike's controls
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That iconic flying bike scene from the film E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial has been relegated to the annals of pop culture science fiction for far too long now. Fortunately, three Czech companies with the support of France's Dassault Systemes have just conducted the first test flight of their own two-wheeled, airborne vehicle, dubbed the "F-Bike."

At a recent press conference in Prague, the remarkably noisy custom-built mountain bike took a remote-controlled flight around a large warehouse with a dummy in the driver's seat. A grand total of six horizontal rotors, drawing 47 kilowatts of power from on-board batteries, can be seen propelling the bike through the air in the video at the bottom of the page.

The demonstration does beg the question "Why a bike?". Once those big, knobby tires are lifted off the ground, aren't they rendered more or less moot?

According to the project website, the central concept was to create a flying vehicle that could easily be ridden to a more suitable takeoff site and then be capable of a 3 - 5 minute flight. In order to offset the extra weight added by all the rotors, they could be used to help propel the bike along the ground, besides allowing it to fly.

Weighing in at a meaty 85 kg (187 lb), the current design's maximum takeoff weight is only 170 kg (375 lb), meaning the full cargo of the bike must be no more than 85 kg to get off the ground.

As one member of the project team told Gizmag last year, the design for the F-Bike has evolved quite a bit since it began in 2011. Originally the team had set out to build an electric bike, but ultimately decided they had more grand ambitions.

Inspired by the likes of Jules Verne and Czech author Jaroslav Foglar rather than profit motives (at least for now), the three Czech companies – Duratec, Technodat and Evektor – have yet to set a date for a test flight with a human passenger, but plan to do so this summer. There's no serious talk about bringing a flying bike to market anytime soon.


Flying bike Jan tleskac

View gallery - 7 images
I think that is neat. It might not be practical but still pretty cool; IMO.
I pity the poor cops who will have to attend the inevitable crash sites and pick up the slices
Larry English
60KW? that is about what a car engine has also about 300 times what a person can output
also nasa etc has had these for years
question - what are the wheels even for?
no one would or could ride it as a bike, seems like they are just dead weight
Art Toegemann
This could be a lot lighter. Wheels are not necessary, motor is not necessary. It could be pedaled, like a bike, simpler mechanics. Remember, pedaling blades is much easier than pedaling wheels with the friction and weight on them. 3, 12 speed gear shifts? They know what we want; almost there.
That's nothing, British inventors have already designed and built a folding bike / paraglider combo and are now marketing it on kickstarter:
Cool! Lots of room for improvement, but good start!
@Art - This thing uses 47 Kilowatts, a fit human would be hard pressed to make 1 KW. So they won't be pedaling these things into the air, sorry.
Art Toegemann
@Warren It is inefficient, it's heavy, it's wrong minded. Flight does not require 47 kw.
Hmmm, I wonder what happens when you take it outside and the wind blows...
@Art Toegemann "Flight does not require 47 kw."
Right in absolute terms, but not in the context of this article. If your aircraft happens to weigh 1KG, hovering flight only takes about 150 W for a helicopter. More for a Quadrotor.
But in context, with a human "rider" weighing at least 45KG, and a mountain bike weighing at least 10KG (for the lightest of mountain bikes) and assuming that the rest of the flying mechanism weighs nothing at all, we're up around 8kw. That's battery mass - zero. Motors, frames, propellers, and electronics mass - zero, and a person the mass of a pro jockey (or child) and a mountain bike the mass of the most expensive carbon and titanium bikes available.
If we humans could generate 8KW, we could easily fly with almost any mechanism, and pedal bicycles up hill at 50 mph into wind!
So, please point me at documents describing any heavier-than-air aerial system which can lift off the ground under its own power, and hover (in zero wind) which has figures significantly better than ~150W/Kilo of mass lifted?
Note we're not talking about _forward_ flight. That's been done with pedals already, and it's well-known that humans can't sustain more than a few hundred watts continuously, but that's enough to take off and fly in ground effect.