Drones

Flike: The first tricopter drone you can sit on and fly

Marek Hoffmann Autor, Hemd & Hoodie

Shut up and take my money!”  It’s an expression often used on social media, on imageboards and in web forums to convey the euphoric joy of a community member about a product that they are almost vehemently interested in purchasing.

One such SUATMM product could be Flike. The team behind it, Bay Zoltán Nonprofit Ltd, have probably heard this many times by now and if they haven’t, they will soon.

Flike has an average flight time of half an hour

After all, Flike is described as the world’s “first manned tricopter,” — a fun, 210-kilogram gadget that puts the dream of flying within our grasp in an almost science-fiction style. Its design is reminiscent of a motorcycle. But instead of two wheels it has three rotors, arranged in a triangle around the “pilot’s seat”. Its Hungarian inventors have already proved that their futuristic vehicle is capable of flight. Just watch the video below.

An electric flying machine with six motors

Admittedly, this is the pilot’s first attempt at flying. But overall, his take-off and landing appear faultless, and the prototype Flike seems quite stable in the air.

This level of stability is not only dependent on the skills of the pilot, but also on the on-board computer system, which makes autonomous position corrections as soon as uncontrolled manoeuvres occur — for example, when tilting exceeds a certain threshold.

PARKED

Zero-emission by design

For flight and propulsion, this extraordinary flying bike (Y6 layout) is equipped with six coaxially arranged electric motors — meaning that they are positioned on top of each other. The motors are used to directly drive the carbon-fibre fixed propellers and are mounted on the three Y-arms in the form of counter-rotating pairs of motors.

Rocket science that looks sexy by definition

Flike is controlled using two joysticks, with lithium-polymer batteries allowing an average flight time of half an hour. It’s currently still far from the stylish look that the inventors have given it in their promo video. Yet to be fair, the first prototype was built within just six months, with the first manned flight just three months after that.

Is it a drone? Is it an aircraft?

Flike’s aim is that the second prototype will have the features and an appearance that matches the team’s vision in the video. The project will be operated as a spin-off of Bay Zoltán Nonprofit Ltd. in the form of a for-profit start-up. As of writing, the team is still looking for investors, as suggested by a password-protected area on the website.

Flike requires amendments to existing laws

In addition to the purchase price—about which there are still no clues—there is still another question: Who is actually allowed to use an electric flying bike like this and where could they fly it? As we’ve seen with smaller drones, “the UK’s Civil Aviation Authority issues specific guidelines for what it calls ‘small unmanned aircraft’, restricting them to line of sight operation and a range that is limited to a distance of 500 metres (1,640 feet) and a height of 400 feet.”

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Taking into account the strict regulations governing drone flight, manned use of the Flike might be restricted to private property, aerodromes or possibly over open water, where the risk of injuring members of the public is reduced. Of course, beyond the technological aspects, there are important questions in terms of liability and insurance.

What if the Flike isn’t classed as a drone? Would some sort of flying licence be required? That might restrict the use of machines like the Flike. According to The Guardian, a typical helicopter pilot needs “45 hours of training plus seven written exams and practical skills tests to get a private licence.”
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New technology will require new laws

New means of transport such as the Flike will surely require amendments to existing legislation, as for obvious reasons such devices are not within the scope of current laws.

Take the Me-Mover for example, which is neither a bike nor a scooter — but with a top speed of 40 km/h, presents a challenge for the highway code. Or the AeroMobil flying car, which is not immune to crashing and which opens up the risk of flying objects outside of commercial flight paths.

To find out more about the Flike and the team behind it, visit whatisflike.com.

Pictures: Flike

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