Inventor Begins Testing a 'Star Wars' Hoverbike
CREDIT: Chris Malloy
If any Star Wars fans have dreamed of racing across the forest moon of Endor aboard a speeder bike, they might instead consider a hoverbike being developed on Earth that aims to ultimately fly at 173 mph and reach heights of 10,000 feet.
Rather than hunt down wayward Rebel scum, Creator Chris Malloy envisions the hoverbike allowing people to do surveying or cattle mustering. An early production run of 100 such hoverbikes might cost $40,000, with an expected price drop to that of a motorcycle if 1,000 orders come in, according to DVICE.
The first prototype has only hovered above the ground while kept tied down by ropes, but Malloy and his Australian team in Sydney plan to ease into gradual flight tests. The flying controls resemble that of a motorbike with a throttle grip and handle bars, so that new riders can adjust easily.
Perhaps best of all for future owners, Malloy envisions the hoverbike falling under ultralite aerial vehicle classifications in the U.S. That would mean no pilot's license required, which may sound less thrilling for people on the ground who might have to put up with daredevils intent upon outdoing Luke or Leia's best speeder bike run.
The Australian hoverbike joins another Star Wars concept from New Zealand, a flying jetpack that recently hit a record-breaking 5,000 feet while carrying a dummy pilot. If both devices pass their flight tests, Star Wars fans with deep pockets can start thinking about whether they'd like to emulate a Scout Trooper or Boba Fett.
Another Star Wars concept built upon the giant AT-AT Walker from "The Empire Strikes Back" was pitched as an inspiring crowd-sourced project in the U.S., but faltered when copyright considerations came up on Lucasfilm's side. Perhaps it could have avoided controversy by simply going with the giant robotic walker idea.