25 Jun 2012

With all the talk of flying cars in recent days and over the years, one possibility seems to have gotten left behind:  flying bicycles.  A few Czech engineers and hobbyists have proposed a flying bike that can float above the pavement thanks to four battery-powered propellers.

Design Your Dreams team has used only a few off-the-shelf components and turned an e-bike concept into what is basically a two-wheeled multicopter/quadcopter called the f-bike.  This device should be capable of vertical takeoffs and landings and up to five minutes of flight.

It would seem that Jan Tleskac has come up with this vision of the flying bicycle after reading the childhood books of Jaraslav Foglar.

The F-bike's thrust for liftoff comes from the horizontal propellers.  There is a total of 50 kW of electric motors on-board.  Compare that with say the power of about 267 watts with a typical brushless electric airplane.   The electric motors power the two main propellers and two stabilizers.  Lithium-polymer batteries are stored in the frame of the bike making for a total weight of 187 pounds.  This is quite a bit more than your typical bike, but not that bad for a flying bike either.

The engineers are trying to decide whether to build their own control system from a hovercraft or design their own.  They are looking into the cost and benefit of the worth of modding an existing system.  The flight experience is similar to that of a helicopter but the landing could be a little rough.  Since gas-liquid dampers would be too heavy the design relies on special tires to reduce the shock on the return to the ground.

Currently the maximum weight of the rider is 187 pounds.  This will put such a limited device out of the range of some adults and the size of the whole setup is too big for a bicycle lane on a highway.

The F-bike team worked with software (CATIA) from Dassault Systemes to create the animations of the flying bike.  The team still has more work to do, such as creating 3-D models of wiring, finishing the frame construction, getting the flight control system and building a final test version.  The first tests should take place as soon as August.  F-bike's team said this mockup will never make it to production and is just a marketing exercise.

Source:  Slate

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