A company called Aerofex might be the first company to really find success with hovercrafts. In the pictures and video there are different prototypes, so you can see how the project has progressed. Just a note, since the rider’s body position and the maneuvering of the vehicle is more like a bike, we refer to the Aero-X, like the company does, as a hoverbike.
For decades, inventors have tried to come out with hovercrafts, but they had very limited success. Although drones have become popular recently, hovercrafts, which allow a person to ride on it, have had some significant physics challenges.
The primary challenge is the “coupling effect.” This effect is when two systems, the two rotary engines on the Aero-X, are interacting with each other and create instability and difficulty controlling the hovercraft. With a lot of engineering, they’ve been able to overcome the coupling effect.
The Aeroflex also uses knee-bars to detect when the rider is leaning. With rollover bars, Aerofex has been able to protect riders in the event of a crash. The company states that with these innovations, a person can learn to ride the vehicle safely in just a weekend of training. With a limited number of moving parts, this reduces the amount of maintenance.
The two rotary engines allow the hoverbike to fly ten feet off the ground and go up to 45 mph. This allows the vehicle to be used over both flat surfaces and hills. With the addition of pontoons, the hoverbike can be used over bodies of water. It can reach this speed even with two passengers and, with a full tank of gas, it can be operated for 75 minutes.
The Aero-X hoverbikes will be available for release in 2017. The cost for this cool hovercraft is $85,000. You can get more information on the Aero-X website.