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back to article Real, hovering SPEEDER BIKE can be YOURS for cheaper than a house

If you've ever wanted to ride a hovering motorbike like the ones featured in Return of the Jedi, you'll soon be able to get one step closer to your dream – provided you have the spare coin lying around. A California company called Aerofex has come up with the Aero-X, a two-passenger vehicle that's something like a hovercraft …

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Don't have 85k

Though I'm hopefull that the hovering skateboard that is due by next year will be somewhat cheaper. It better be, been waiting almost 30 years for it.

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Re: Don't have 85k

What, this one?

Huvr board

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Huvr board

Retails online for $589, but with a top speed of 12 mph it's not really a commuter solution. So it really depends on what/where you want to hoover.

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Holmes

Re: Huvr board

Also, it's a hoax.

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Unhappy

Re: Huvr board

"Also, it's a hoax."

Just for that I'm gonna make sure that they never sell one to you...killjoy

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Anonymous Coward

Hovers a a maximum of 12 feet. Forget going around traffic, just go over it.

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Does the phrase 'low bridge' have any meaning for you?

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Coat

I'm sure it'll hit him eventually…

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Anonymous Coward

No bridges on my commute, at least not that I go under.

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Happy

Hmm 12ft...

...above ground level or terrain level?

Some thing tells me by the time you've flown over 30 odd cars, following their profiles, you may feel a level queasy....and the school kids will love the look on you face as your nose spatters into the top window of a double decker bus.

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I'll take what's behind door number 3

I must say that after watching the video, I'm less impressed than I was before I saw it. Isn't that supposed to be the other way around?

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Depends on your expectations

I was expecting a CGI mock-up of a fictional product that would never fly. Then I suspected a full size model suspended behind a tow-truck, but thirteen seconds in, the whole shadow of the vehicle is visible at once, with no shadow of a cable or tow-truck. They either made a high quality fake or they have a working prototype. Either way, the video far exceeded my expectations. Here is a different video:

http://youtu.be/akA-B64RACU

Neither video has any sound. I bet it is so loud that you would never hear any complaints from the neighbours.

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Re: Depends on your expectations

I was cynical when I watched the video too: why no shots of the whole thing in flight? Thanks for the link; I'm much more impressed now.

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Re: Depends on your expectations

It's not like it's difficult to make a contraption like this, it's been done many times already.

And the problem remains the same: the propwash will blast anything inside ten yards of the machine into the next county.

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Coat

Nice, but...

Since the XP-38 came out, they're just not in demand

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Nice, but...

I don't think it's in the same market segment as Lockheed though.

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Meh.

Like the idea, but currently I would rather have an Africa Twin. Go more places, cheaper to buy, and I would guess *far* more economical.

/bah_humbug

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I'd sooner have a microlight, gyrocopter or powered paraglider if I wanted to actually fly. 45 MPH isn't really very fast compared to a motorbike I am happy to basically stick to the ground.

It doesn't even look that much fun.

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If we're having wishes, I'll have an Apache attack helicopter. With all of the options, there's noise complaints from the neighbours to deal with.

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"there's noise complaints from the neighbours to deal with."

Assuming your neighbours aren't Russian you can dispense with the armour piercing options, and carry more of the useful stuff against civilians and lightly armed bandits. So, stock up on flechettes, particularly if they've got any small dogs. Ask nicely and the suppliers might offer you mini-flechettes designed purely for small dogs and civies.

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Re: I'd sooner have a microlight, gyrocopter or powered paraglider

I'd sooner have one of these.

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"If we're having wishes, I'll have an Apache attack helicopter. With all of the options, there's noise complaints from the neighbours to deal with."

I live in Yeovil which is where the (Agusta) Westland Apache comes from, very close to the airfield. It's not that noisy to be honest even when they do (did) night flying.

If you open fire with the Hellcats or nose gun - now that will be noisy. Mind you, who's going to sit in the other seat as your CPG?

Cheers

Jon

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It is not russians which you need to be afraid of

Quote: "Assuming your neighbours aren't Russian"

As a person of Russian descent I appreciate the humor. However, it is a bit off from reality. It is not Russians you need to be afraid of.

Several Eastern European countries made a pretty good living during the cold war by buying export version Russian gear (one without the expensive analogue EMP resistant control systems) and bolting a cheap PC to the back of it (something similar to what Israel used to do with old US kit). They also manufacture quite a bit of russian small arms kit under license. In any case, these countries had a flow of small arms per capita compared to which Russia or even the US look distinctly unarmed.

My recollections from the days when I used to live in an apartment block in one of those countries was that with our family's 2 NPK Arsenal "commando issue" 9mm heavy duty hydraulic harpoons and a high power air gun were practically unarmed. The neighbors under us had a couple of AK47, the cop living above me had a Dragunov, an arsenal of hunting rifles as well as his standard issue handgun. That was _DURING_ the cold war when there was a resemblance of law and order. That number increased during the crazy 90-es and the post-fall-of-the-wall wars to a point where I did not dare contemplate how much armament did they have.

So if you are sporting an Apache helicopter, the likelihood that neighbors pissed off by the noise will shoot it down is fairly low if they are Russian. Your chances of taking off more than once are roughly NIL if they are Georgian, Bulgairan or let's say Armenian. If they are Moldovan there will be a smoking crater where your property used to be.

Not kidding by the way - I used to keep a link to an article about an idiot bookseller (one I used to buy books from) getting arrested for being drunken and disorderly and threatening his in-law with a shoulder launched Strela missile in an apartment block.

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"45 MPH isn't really very fast "

With a 250HP motor, it's pathetic. I think we're looking at something between 2 and 4 mpg, which suggests terrible range and a lack of practicality verging on the ridiculous.

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Paris Hilton

Re: It is not russians which you need to be afraid of

a shoulder launched Strela missile in an apartment block

MY KIND OF COUNTRY!

But these are the goods that the CIA DOESN't want the Syrian "rebels" to have (as officially stated two days ago) lest they blow up a few of "our" Airbus Lard Transporters on final approach (can't have that, there may be discontentment among the people). You are telling me you can find these in slavic apartment blocks?

There was even some relief that Ghaddafi's arsenal, rapidly disappearing into the neighborhood, only included the vehicle-mounted version which apparently cannot be readily converted to be man-portable.

Russia or even the US look distinctly unarmed

I hear gun control in Russia is rather restrictive? Well, it may not be enforced of course.

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Re: It is not russians which you need to be afraid of

Thank you for all the sage advice...the net effect of which would seem to be buy flechettes; smoke everyone from Eastern Europe on the first (test) flight and maybe flip a coin for Russians.

On the other hand, if gerdesj is correct then the noise would only really be complaint-worthy if I opened fire.

Well, I try to be a considerate-ish neighbour, plus there's the property value aspect to a house being surrounded by smoking craters.

Would a prudent course of action be to smoke only those Eastern European neighbours who work nights (and would be the most sensitive to noise) and claim my finger slipped during the first flight? First flight and all...there's got to be more buttons in there than a game console controller and it's well known that I can't work those bastards, so it would be fairly plausible.

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Re: It is not russians which you need to be afraid of

I'm saving up $5m for that X2 helicoptor - that thing looks awesome!

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Re: "45 MPH isn't really very fast "

The mileage will depend upon the wind direction since that maximum 45mph is air speed.

You're absolutely right though. For that kind of money I could get an ultralight, a Hayabusa and a Landrover with plenty of change left over for various types of mind-altering chemicals if I ever got bored the previous three things.

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Re: It is not russians which you need to be afraid of

"Well, I try to be a considerate-ish neighbour, plus there's the property value aspect to a house being surrounded by smoking craters"

No no no ... property value goes up ... house has multiple swimming pools :)

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Mushroom

Also not recommended in forests.

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Yeah. Damn Ewoks.

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Big Brother

Ewoks have been declared "wood terrorists". If Vader hadn't had such a soft-on-terror core, he would have agentoranged their hide off a long time ago. They are fair game, I say!

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The ugliest looking thing since........

Sorry, even the Fiat Multi-blurgh!! wasnt THAT ugly.

It looks like a running shoe for masochists.

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Re: The ugliest looking thing since........

hey! I drive a froggy and she's lovely...this on the other hand needs killing with fire.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: The ugliest looking thing since........

Sure the multipla's real fugly but damn, are they practical.

A hover-bike with circa 50 mile range, no luggage space or brakes to speak of... hmmm... More or less the same on the fugly axis but opposite end of the practicality scale, I think.

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Unhappy

Salt Flats only craft - Wow (not)!

Just a toy for barren salt flats somewhere. No floats so sinks if breaks over water. Doesn't look agile enough to navigate close to obstacles - thorn tree in the face at 10 ft altitude sucks, so not a bush craft. Can't handle dunes in a sand desert. Nearly as useful as a chocolate tea pot.

Aussie bloke made something similar back in 2011 (at $40K) with 'better' specs and that didn't get anywhere either.

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Re: Salt Flats only craft - Wow (not)!

According to their website, pontoons are an option. It also states that it can run for 1.25 hours - but I doubt you'll get that with pontoons, so don't go too far out to sea!

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Anonymous Coward

12ft

I'd be more impressed if the vide showed it hovering more than 1ft :/

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Joke

yeah...

But can it do the kessel run in less than 12 parsecs ?

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Weekend Training?

I thought a hovercraft needs a pilot licence.

Hint. They don't do corners as well as a Microlight.

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Anonymous Coward

"hovering at an altitude of up to 12 feet (3.66m) above the ground"

Didn't see anything like that in the Video. In fact the Video was a bit of a spoiler as the vehicle appeared unstable...

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Mushroom

Just right for nipping around the Amazon Rainforest

icon: expected result.

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Unhappy

The Fairchild Ryan hover jeep lives again

Yea for that.

All that is old is new again.

Maybe they've got the bugs out after 5 decades.

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Re: The Fairchild Ryan hover jeep lives again

The Piasecki VZ-8 Airgeep was definitely ahead of its time.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4SERvwWALOM

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Re: The Fairchild Ryan hover jeep lives again

I was just thinking the same thing.

I wonder what new patents they've taken out that the "young" inventors and "young" patent office clerks have not bothered to check for prior art?

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Alert

Keep that thing well away from me!

Since this is airborne, it will take much longer to stop or to turn than a wheeled vehicle.

If it is going 45mph at 5 feet above the ground, then if someone is in its path it will take their head off.

If it is used off-road then such accidents will happen.

On-road? I'd expect it to slew into the side of a lorry or bus unless it slows right down for corners.

And that's without considering the effect of the down-draught from the fans.

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For the price

I would expect something better,watching it in both videos it is clear to me that a quad copter big enough to sit on would be better and more manageable if you could use the engine to run a generator to electric lift fans. Although sticking a genny on it would probably mean doing away with any passenger capability.

Electric fans would enable it to use pitch and yaw sensors and possibly something approaching brakes instead of carefully dumping it on the ground as it appeared to do in the video.

If they made it more verstatile and intuitive it will stand a chance, as it is they'll be lucky to sell ten before they disappear . Or maybe they could stick a turbofan in it and vector nozzles and call something like ...... ohhh Harrier?

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Re: For the price

Why convert to electric motors, use something along the lines of the Stingray 500.

Single (central) motor, shaft and belt drive. Even if it was four ducted fans that would seem to produce better stability than this, just remind me how you stop it pitching from side to side with a couple of moving people above the COG with two fans in line?

if you could rotate the four ducts as well as affect the pitch it might be possible to go and stop in a real hurry. Include small wheels on the front edge of one pair of fan housing for around town, retractable steering set on other end.

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Re: For the price

Have you considered the weight of the batteries to provide 250HP for an hour? That's 200kWH. You would need a medium sized truck tethered to it on the ground to provide power, and at current prices you're looking at around £70000+ for the batteries.

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Re: For the price

Who mentioned batteries?

Once it's a shaft drive from one central point it makes greater sense to use a conventional engine, I was only pointing to the constant speed, variable pitch, four point prop system.

Once the thing is wider it opens it to using ground affect wing profiles to improve the efficiency on the national hoverways and desert crossings.

I can see it being a loosing battle to try and fit it in the width of a conventional car while in flight mode but the in-line fans seem too cumbersome and hard to control for simple agile flight.

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