Star Wars fans who happen to be motorcycle enthusiasts might go nuts over something like JetPack Aviation's (JPA) Speeder. The company stated that its first prototype aced its first few tests.
JPA has been in the business of flying things since 2016 starting out with an actual jetpack. In 2019, we wrote a prior story stating that JPA's flying motorcycle prototype is fully funded. The company raised £1.43 million to create the first prototype of the speeder. Fast forward, and neither pandemic nor lockdown could stop JPA from making progress on what would be every sci-fi fan's childhood dream vehicle.
According to an article from New Atlas, the company spent eighteen months creating an entirely new flight control software. Essentially, it's a miniature VTOL, and it's powered by the same mini-turbines that JPA's jetpacks run on.
New Atlas also published a video of the prototype in action. The tests show that the vehicle can take off, climb, do turns, and it can hover using LiDAR technology, the same tech used in self-driving features and other advanced safety systems.
Alright, so it doesn't have four pistons and a massive amount of displacement, but that technology's so last century, right? Or is it? Anyway, in comparison to the traditional jetpack design of JPA, this new vehicle will be easier to deploy as there's no lengthy process of putting it on. Just get on it and go. I guess you should strap on a helmet, and perhaps a Fly helmet would be appropriate?
Capability-wise, it will be electronically stabilised and it will be able to carry higher loads and up to two people. However, it will have to warm up. No, you don't idle it before you take off just for the fluids to flow, but rather jet turbines need quite a bit of time in order to work properly. There is a ramp-up time that you need to take into consideration before flying.
Being in the air presents a few problems. However, just like some of the motorcycle industry's fastest bikes sporting winglets, the final version of the flying motorcycle could come with wings for sustained flight. According to the mad genius behind JPA, David Maynam, "with a nice, slippery cargo version, we're looking at more than 300 miles per hour. Potentially well over, which is insane." Piloted versions will be a bit slower, and it will be open-top, but the final design is still up in the air.
Now the bigger question is, what kind of license do you need for this? A motorcycle license or a pilot's license? Just asking for a friend, I think.