Aircraft

Lazareth's transforming, flying motorcycle demonstrates a stable hover

Lazareth's transforming, flyin...
Liftoff! Lazareth's Moto Volante in a stable 1-meter hover on safety tethers
Liftoff! Lazareth's Moto Volante in a stable 1-meter hover on safety tethers
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Liftoff! Lazareth's Moto Volante in a stable 1-meter hover on safety tethers
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Liftoff! Lazareth's Moto Volante in a stable 1-meter hover on safety tethers
The Moto Volante's wheels fold out and upward to become jet-powered thrust pods
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The Moto Volante's wheels fold out and upward to become jet-powered thrust pods
The wheels fold up, and the jets warm themselves up within about  minute to prepare for takeoff
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The wheels fold up, and the jets warm themselves up within about  minute to prepare for takeoff
A jet-powered wheelie
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A jet-powered wheelie
The Moto Volante looks like it has the same Maserati V8 engine as the LM-847, but we suspect it's just a lightweight dummy setup to save weight. The wheels are driven by electric motors
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The Moto Volante looks like it has the same Maserati V8 engine as the LM-847, but we suspect it's just a lightweight dummy setup to save weight. The wheels are driven by electric motors
La Moto Volante in tilting electric 4-wheeler road mode
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La Moto Volante in tilting electric 4-wheeler road mode
The wheels must all turn around the JetCat turbines that form the centers of their hubs
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The wheels must all turn around the JetCat turbines that form the centers of their hubs
The front wheels are able to steer, tilt, brake and articulate outwards and upwards to become thrust pods
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The front wheels are able to steer, tilt, brake and articulate outwards and upwards to become thrust pods
Lazareth's Moto Volante in motorcycle mode
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Lazareth's Moto Volante in motorcycle mode
Lazareth's Moto Volante in motorcycle mode
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Lazareth's Moto Volante in motorcycle mode
Lazareth's Moto Volante in motorcycle mode
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Lazareth's Moto Volante in motorcycle mode
Lazareth's Moto Volante in flight mode
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Lazareth's Moto Volante in flight mode
Lazareth's Moto Volante in flight mode
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Lazareth's Moto Volante in flight mode
Lazareth's Moto Volante in flight mode
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Lazareth's Moto Volante in flight mode
Lazareth's Moto Volante in flight mode
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Lazareth's Moto Volante in flight mode

"We don't know if Lazareth is genuinely intending to test fly this thing," we wrote when we first saw La Moto Volante late last year, "or just present it as a work of art." Well, a new video answers that question pretty comprehensively, as it shows this beast of a thing taking off and achieving a stable hover on tethers.

It's early days yet, but Ludovic Lazareth has already delivered an impressive result. This French custom auto/moto maker has a long history of building wacky and bizarre one-offs and short run vehicles, but the Moto Volante flying motorcycle is his most ambitious yet.

It looks like an evolution of Lazareth's own mind-boggling LM-847, a tilting four-wheeler built around a fire-breathing 470-horsepower Maserati engine. But the Moto Volante ups the ante by putting a 96,000-rpm JetCat jet turbine in the hub of each wheel and adding hydraulic actuators that tilt the four wheels out and up, forming a configuration something like a jet-powered quadcopter. Two extra jets can be added near the middle of the chassis to handle more weight.

The Moto Volante's wheels fold out and upward to become jet-powered thrust pods
The Moto Volante's wheels fold out and upward to become jet-powered thrust pods

You can ride the thing on the road, according to Lazareth, then when you've had it with traffic pull over to a suitable launch area. Pressing a button converts the bike from ride to fly mode and, after waiting about 60 seconds for the jets pre-heat, you can lift off and leave the gridlock behind.

It's truly impressive how Lazareth has designed and executed the bike's unique fly/ride power arms. Each of the rear wheels needs to be driven and braked for on-road use, and the front wheels need steering and braking capability – all while the main wheel hubs are built around jet turbines thick enough to lift this hulking beast of a thing, with a ballistic parachute mounted in each wheel as well in case things go wrong.

The front wheels are able to steer, tilt, brake and articulate outwards and upwards to become thrust pods
The front wheels are able to steer, tilt, brake and articulate outwards and upwards to become thrust pods

Since there are no chains leading back from that monster Maserati powerplant, it appears that the bike runs on electric drive to the two rear wheels in road mode. Indeed, we suspect there may not be a monster Maserati powerplant in there at all any more, with the giant V8 cylinders and plastic airbox cover possibly being faked up purely for appearance in the Moto Volante. Certainly, an engine that big would add significant weight, and keeping weight down is a challenge for any aircraft. France's BFM TV reports that the entire bike weighs just 140 kg (308 lb), and makes some 240 kg (529 lb) of thrust in flight mode.

Lazareth has hover-tested the bike on tethers to a height of 1 m (3.3 ft), with his brave and lightweight girlfriend Vanessa at the helm. Check out the video below. The Lazareth team will be bringing the Moto Volante to Gitex in Dubai this October, and will launch pre-orders there at a price of €496,000 (approx. US$560,000).

La Moto Volante joins Jetpack Aviation's Speeder as the only two jet-powered flying motorcycle concepts we've seen to date. Mind you, the Speeder is much more of a single-purpose vehicle without any road capability, and as such we'd expect its flight dynamics to be superior and less compromised. But Lazareth's got a full size prototype in the air that's also road-certified, so congratulations to the Lazareth team for building what must be acknowledged as a ground-breaking multi-mode vehicle.

Source: Lazareth Auto Moto

Lazareth LMV 496 - Episode 2 - "La Moto Volante" - Flying Bike

19 comments
owlbeyou
"Honey, our new neighbors have just moved in next door. It looks like they've got a kind of flying motorcycle thingie that looks really neat". "You're going to have to speak louder sweetheart. Someone's making a racket outside".
Towerman
This looks Wicked ! Where can i order ? ! !
Observer101
One would think that numerous builders would make a "rider" vehicle similar to a large DRONE.... Electric motors, gyro's and computer controlled... all driven by a small but powerful (somewhat efficient) gas driven motor/generator combo....All for $25-30K!
Grunchy
This was on the Return of Jedi movie and what I remember is the speeders zooming through the forest and the soldiers flying off and slamming into trees. What they needed to do was spend 5 seconds of footage to show what happens to the broken soldiers for people to realize why this thing will never work. Or you could look at the safety tether on the guy's neck to see "oh yes, this thing is a complete joke".
Joshua Tulberg
I wonder why her helmet is so massive. Doubling as ear-plugs maybe?
Towerman
@owlbeyou Ever heard a 1000 cc super bike passing by your quite neighbourhood ? And how the sound travels for miles on end as he races up to the main road taking further out. And what... there are like millions worldwide ! Suddenly the flying motorbike starts to sound all quiet when thinking about this, it will become mass produced, in time whether it's loud or not.. ;)
Towerman
@Grunchy Son, it already works, it's in the air and i will bet you my life savings it can fly, and very well let me add. You want to see people flying off objects ? Look at the millions of motorbikes you see driving on highways right in front of your eyes around the world, if you think about how many have lost their lives on a motorbike and especially HOW... suddenly a flying bike makes much more sense as you do not have traffic next to you or in front of you, you move in 3 dimensional space... Anything out there is dangerous Especially Motorbikes. Flying bikes will be built there is absolutely nothing that is going to stop it from becoming mass produced in future, sooner than you think, and yes, they will Fly extremely well !
RocoWolfe
*plays Hot Wheels Battle Force Five theme song*
Nik
Note; its a woman testing it! I think its an amazing piece of engineering, certainly good enough to feature in a Bond Movie. Whether it is a practical solution, remains to be seen. I dont expect to see it in production any time soon. At half a million, its only a rich ''boys toy'' but no doubt if there's a few more made, someone will buy them. Lucky blighters!
PaulBrosnan
500K for a flying motorcycle that a) has 4 wheels, so is not a motorcycle and b) can't fly. Put me down for a couple of those please.