Flying bicycle takes off without help from E.T.


Let's face it; growing up, we all wanted to find E.T. in our tool shed because he made bicycles fly. But, short of having a father working for NASA (and even that's no guarantee) the reality of a flying bicycle has eluded us. That is, until three Czech engineering groups joined forces to create such a contraption, inventing an electric flying bicycle that recently took its first air in Prague.

This bike remains merely the group's first prototype. It's basically the bike from E.T., but rather than utilizing the industry standard alien-in-a-basket power source, the group decided upon six horizontally mounted propellors powered by an electric motor. It's also not flown (ridden?) by a human, rather a plastic dummy with a real human on the ground flying it remotely. The final product will, naturally, be operated on-bike by a non-plastic person. It will also, according to the group, fly between three to five minutes before running out of electric power and, presumably, plummeting to the ground, severely debilitating its rider. It will boast "foolproof" landing gear, however.

The bike won't ever end up in your local Dick's Sporting Goods, as the group says it's merely seeing though a childhood dream to build the contraption. Weirdly, the inspiration never came from E.T., or Star Wars; rather it came from an odd book about a boy flying his bicycle that no one has ever heard of. Regardless, a flying bike is pretty cool, even if it does sport serious range anxiety.

Photo: AP