One of the smallest jet airplane ever developed could be several years far from ending up being the very first sky-legal motorbike.
When it’s accredited by the FAA, the Jetpack Air travel Speeder will be a flying street bike that uses 8 tiny-but-powerful jet engines to travel 60 mph for about thirty minutes.
“We’re working on a special airworthiness certificate for experimental certification,” says Jetpack Aviation CEO David Mayman. “It’s taking longer than expected because this is a significantly different animal than the FAA has ever had to deal with before.”
While the original style had 4 turbines (as displayed in the renderings), the end product will have eight (in the photos), 2 at each corner of the bike to provide safety through redundancy.
A barebones Speeder P2 model is being evaluated at the business’s California facilities. It’ll be on a tether until it acquires FAA certification.
The model has actually attained autonomous takeoffs and landings. It has also hovered and transitioned to forward flight.
Focusing on the military variation first will be prolonged testing prior to the airplane ultimately transitions into the flying motorcycle, or as Jetpack Aviation calls it, an “autonomous flying vehicle.”
While AFV does not have the same Easy Rider-cool ring, it does indicate the capacity of a brand-new class of airplane in what is now just a category of one.
In the piloted-motorcycle version, the Speeder could potentially reach 250 mph, though even the very best riders would have difficulty staying on at that speed.
The company has a governor for the engines and an altitude limiter.“Theoretically, you could keep going up to 16,000 feet before it ran out of fuel,” says Mayman, quipping. “But then you’d need a parachute.”
While accreditation is still years away, Mayman experienced a taste of what demand might be like at last summer’s Pacific Air Program.
“We had a Speeder inside the VIP tent and a lot of people would come past and say, ‘I don’t need another Lamborghini or Bentley,’” he says. “‘I want that.’”
The company has already started taking preorders for the Speeder, with an initial price of $381,000.