Oct 162017

A Russian company is apparently providing “hoverbikes” to the Dubai police. The bikes are overgrown quadcopters with nicely exposed rotors, perfect for chopping into bystanders.

To be sure, these things look cool, but I’m just as glad that I’m not one of the cops beta testing them.

The payload seems to be about 100 kilos, flight time about 30 minutes. That’s really not too shabby. Come back in a few years and these things might really be some kind of practical; extend the arms some, increase the rotor size (meaning a lower disk loading and a somewhat quieter system), improve the batteries and computer system, shave off weight with new/better composite structures, and you might have something that could be hauled around on modified ambulances and/or fire trucks for rescues from buildings and in the back end of beyond. Militaries could well want them, especially if they are optionally-manned.


 Posted by at 10:24 pm
  • Nick Gaston

    Hmmm. Needs a better soundtrack backing it…


  • allen

    meh. a hiller flying platform did it better, safer, and 61 years ago. modernize one of those and you’d have a real winner.

  • Namenlos

    Nah, the de Lackner HZ-1 Aerocycle still is an unbeatable achievement in terms of the flight safety.

  • DJF

    Sharpen up the propellers and it would be a good but messy crowd control machine

  • sferrin

    One of those “what the hell were they thinking things” designed during a “hold ma beer (or vodka)” moment. Sitting in the middle of four exposed lawnmower blades going extra fast? What could possibly go wrong. The least they could do is make them shrouded.

  • Thucydides_of_Athens

    Replace the electric motors and batteries with a small IC motor and the range and flight duration becomes far more practical. And shrouding the rotors is a must (regardless of efficiency issues).

    Any new information on the Israeli “Air Mule”? There was a ducted rotor “flying car” which seemed to have solved most of the issues with flying vehicles, but they have gone very quiet of late….

    • robunos20

      >And shrouding the rotors is a must (regardless of efficiency issues).
      Wouldn’t a properly designed shroud increase effiicency . . .

      • Thucydides_of_Athens

        My understanding is a shroud is only a boost for efficiency at a particular RPM or airspeed regime. This means that while you could optimize for (say) cruising, the shrouds would become an impediment when hovering or accelerating. If you optimized for acceleration, then hovering and cruising would be affected.

        The designers would have to determine if the gains in one flight regime offset any losses in others.

        • Paul451

          Actually it’s worse than that, shrouds cause rotational issues when the air-stream is moving across them. It changes the lift-ratio between the sides. Ie, they work great for stationary hover when facing down, or for normal forward drive when facing rearward (turbo-fan). But the moment you try to tilt the hover-cycle forward to move, they instantly become worse than naked props.

          Even rotating prop/shroud arms doesn’t solve the problem, because you need to vector the direction of thrust to air-flow to have both drive and lift.

          • Scottlowther

            A complex solution would be to use tilt-ducts akin to those of the X-22, with thrust vectoring vanes in the “exhaust.” this would allow the inlets to be positioned to always be perpendicular (or is that parallel) to the airflow while directing the thrust elsewhere.

            Dubious whether the added weight would make up for the minor efficiency increase.

  • Knigh26

    Where I could see these coming into better usage would be as emergency medivac. Place a remotely piloted one on the back of an ambulance. You then strap an unconscious patient to and remotely pilot it straight to the hospital. Think of it like a modern H-13 for short range hops to the Hospital.

    • James

      How fast is it. Also no way to keep a medic with them.

  • edgeofspace .

    Ducted fan would be safer

  • xvdougl

    Well the good news is I’m sure in Dubai sand won’t cause any problems for nearby pedestrians.