A Flying Motorcycle Prototype Completed Its First Flight Test

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A prototype version of the Speeder, a jet turbine-powered flying motorcycle, has aced its first flight test, a report from New Atlas explains.

The machine, built by California-based Jetpack Aviation, could eventually reach top speeds of over 300 mph (480 km/h).

The first test flight for the Speeder saw the machine hover over tarmac, with a tether attached. The tether was not actually supporting the vehicle and was only attached in order to catch the machine if any systems were to fail. 

On a social media post, Jetpack Aviation wrote, "the Speeder will be the smallest, fastest, optionally piloted VTOL in the world, enabling multiple applications across emergency, cargo, military, and civil sectors."

The test flight, which can be seen in the video below, will be followed by "test flying late summer," the company says.

The Speeder will be electronically self-stabilized, much like a drone. The team behind the machine — also known for building jetpacks similar to the one built by Gravity Industries — has spent the last 18 months building a new form of flight control software from scratch.

Hoverbikes and flight suits go viral

Such machines understandably gain widespread attention when videos are posted online. Last year, a similar machine built by Hoversurf made a crash landing during a test flight in Dubai.

Another company, CopterPack, also recently released footage of a tethered personal flight suit test — though it was caught out for misleading viewers by editing its video to remove the tether. 

Though the thought of owning a personal flying motorcycle is tantalizing, ultimately, Jetpack Aviation's Speeder platform will be adaptable for various use cases, including personal flight, automated cargo delivery, and emergency situations.

An exact price isn't set, as the machine still needs to undergo testing and development, but early estimations from Jetpack Aviation suggest that one Speeder unit might cost somewhere in the region of $380,000.

The consumer version of the Speeder will likely have a single seat and eight engines, allowing for safe landing even in the case that one or two of those engines fail during flight.

However, before that, Jetpack Aviation says the Speeder will likely first be used for military unmanned cargo and first responder missions. 

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