By Adam Newman
The concept of a flying bicycle has been around for more than a century, but some engineers from the Czech Republic have a new version that combines the mobility of two-wheeled travel with an electric boost to get you off the ground. Unveiled recently in Prague, the F-bike took to the sky (briefly) in a test flight with a dummy in place of a real rider. It uses six propellers powered by a 54 kW motor, weighs about 210 pounds and can lift and estimated 160 pounds of rider.
Here is CNN’s Jeanne Moos getting some reaction on the street. Would be great for washing windows maybe…
More impressive, in my mind, are the flying machines that run on human power. American aeronautical engineer Paul MacCready designed and built the Gossamer Albatross, an ultralight and human-powered plane. Powered by amateur cyclist Bryan Allen, it crossed 22 miles of the English Channel in 1979 to win MacCready’s second Kremer Prize for human-powered flight.
Now another prize is helping to motivate engineering students from the University of Maryland (go Terps!). The American Helicopter Society’s Sikorsky Prize has pledged $250,000 to the first team to fly a successful human-powered helicopter. As you can see in the video, the team is very close.
Like I said, these ideas are not new, but thanks to the latest technology, they’re getting ever closer to a reality.
Then again, perhaps all you need to fly is a little imagination…