Don’t be surprised if your city streets start looking like an episode of The Jetsons in 2017. Aerofex, a tech company based in California, has confirmed it will launch the Aero-X personal hovercraft in three years time, barring no hiccups with testing.
Personal flight has been attempted unsuccessfully many times before, but this hoverbike might actually catch on. The Aero-X rides like a motorcycle and features seating for an extra passenger with a combined carrying weight of 310lbs, so you’d better lay off the snacks if you’ve got a friend.
Power comes courtesy of a small naturally aspirated rotary engine, which drives the dual front and rear carbon fiber fan blades to produce lift. The engine runs on regular unleaded gasoline, and provides a maximum of 1.25 hours of flight per tank, which comes as one of the vehicle’s downsides.
On the plus side, riders can cruise around at heights of up to 12 feet off the ground and at speeds of up to 45mph. That might sound a bit adventurous; especially in the event that something goes wrong, which could happen. Luckily, the Aero-X features redundant control systems to land safely and reduce speed in the odd chance that the engine fails or you run out of gas.
The blades are housed in ducts to allow for focused airflow, but also to reduce accidental contact with hands, feet, faces, or really anything that might find its way into a quick-spinning blade.
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The Aero-X reportedly won’t require a pilot’s license to operate, though individual states could require occupants to receive similar certification, in the same way that boaters need a boating license.
The price for all this Jetsonian wizardry – $85,000, but if you’re real antsy to get your hands on one, you can reserve an Aero-X for just $5,000 down.