U.S. Department of Defense developing UK hoverbike
Mon 22 Jun 2015
The current prototype weighs around 600 pounds, can carry up to 220 pounds and has a maximum speed of 92mph. The test model has only been used while still tethered to the ground.
“I am pleased to join with SURVICE Engineering and Malloy Aeronautics to announce their partnership on the Hoverbike, which represents a new frontier in aviation,” said Maryland Lt. Governor Boyd Rutherford. “We are also very excited to welcome Malloy and look forward to working with them to grow their operations in Maryland,” he continued.
The developers hope that the machine will be able to be used in scenarios where a helicopter would be traditionally used, while avoiding issues typically raised by helicopter flight in some situations.
Grant Stapleton, marketing sales director at Malloy’s explained that “there are a lot of advantages of the Hoverbike over a regular helicopter.”
“Primarily there’s safety. With adducted rotors you immediately not only protect people and property if you were to bump into them, but if you ever were to bump into somebody or property it’s going to bring the aircraft out of the air. So there’s a considerable safety level which is a considerably high level of safety involved there. The other thing is cost. This is much less expensive to buy a Hoverbike and much less expensive to run,” he said.
Most of the hoverbike’s chassis is constructed using lightweight carbon fibre with a foam core. The latest model features advanced quadcopter stability and manoeuvrability, and can be programmed to run autonomously across a pre-defined flight path.
The design also features a humanoid figure which can be mounted on top of the hoverbike, with a camera installed in its head. “It can do so much inexpensively and effectively as a multi-purpose product that can be flown manned or unmanned,” added Stapleton.
“It’s absolutely ideal. It’s inexpensive, it can carry a decent load, it can get in and out of very small spaces very quickly and it can be moved across continents very quickly because it can be folded and packed into a C130 or onto a ship and taken; lots of them can be moved around and deployed in the places that you need them very easily and very quickly.”
Stapleton insisted that Malloy Aeronautics would remain an independent company for the meantime, and that the engineering firm is hoping to eventually crack into commercial and leisure markets.