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Props whirring just feet from a test pilot, flying tricyle takes first flight

It might look like an early version of the Star Wars speeder bike but this is actually a Hungarian-made tricopter with a real-live human perched on top.

The team behind the “all-electric personal flight device” recently conducted a successful controlled test flight of its flying bike, which it calls the “Flike” (see what they did there?).

The maiden manned lift-off was captured in the video above, and shows an unnamed pilot clinging on for dear life keeping the Flike almost rock steady as it hovers in the air.

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OK, it doesn’t get very far, in fact, it travels backwards at the beginning. However, the team’s aim was apparently to demonstrate that its creation can be kept in the air for a decent period of time, and on that front it clearly succeeded.

We’re not sure how the pilot felt sitting so close to those chunky rotor blades – and you certainly wouldn’t want Enrique Iglesias getting too close – but we’re definitely interested to see where the project goes from here.

This is how the Flike could one day look.

This is how the Flike could one day look.

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Lithium polymer batteries power the Flike, allowing for up to 40 minutes of flight. Lift is provided by six fixed-pitch, carbon composite rotors driven by individual electric disc motors.

Its engineers assure us that flight stability, lateral position, and altitude “are taken care of by its full-authority flight management computer,” adding that controlling the Flike “is as easy as riding a bicycle.”

Flike’s team hopes its demo video will help score it some funding from flying enthusiasts (or possibly Star Wars fans), in which case the day may yet come when we see this intriguing machine criss-crossing the neighborhood, although admittedly the FAA might have a word or two to say about that.

So, would you travel to work on the Flike (if it moved forward)?

[Via Cnet]