A flying bike this week undertook its maiden flight, in the Czech capital Prague. Pedal-powered while on the ground, it is propellers that get the F-Bike airborne and keep it there, with the machine able to keep airborne for between three and five minutes at a time.
The bike carried a mannequin for its test flight, with movement controlled remotely from the ground, but by this autumn it is hoped to have a human pilot to guide it using a fly by wire system.
The F-Bike has been developed under a project called Design Your Dreams and is the result of collaboration between Czech companies Technodat, Evektor and Duratec, with the help of French business Dassault Systèmes among other partners.
According to Wired.com, it hasn’t taken massive investment to get the prototype off the ground, as it were – the tech website puts the project cost “in the low five figures,” with many parts supplied off the shelf.
The flight took place six months shy of the 110th anniversary this December of Orville Wright taking to the air for the first time in 1903 aboard the Flyer aircraft he had designed and built with his brother Wilbur.
A decade earlier, the pair had set up their own bicycle sales and repair shop, moving into making their own bicycles in 1896, using the profits of the business to finance their pioneering work in the field of flying.
The F-Bike brings that journey back full circle, but you won’t be able to buy one in the shops, sadly – its creators say it’s enough for them to see the F-Bike complete the journey from conception to full operation.
“Our main motivation in working on the project was neither profit nor commercial interest, but the fulfilment of our boyish dreams,” commented project engineer Ales Kobylik.
Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.