Could this hovering tricycle get us closer to speeder bikes?
A prototype of a hovering tricycle called the Flike takes off in a test flight -- and hopefully flies toward a future where we all can get around on flying bikes.
CNET freelancer Danny Gallagher has contributed to Cracked.com, Mental Floss, Maxim, Break.com, Mandatory, Jackbox Games, Geeks Who Drink and many, many other publications in his never-ending quest to bring the world's productivity to a screeching halt. He lives and works in Dallas. Email Danny.
Think back to that time when you were a kid and you first saw "Star Wars: Return of the Jedi." You can mentally take out the parts with those annoying Ewoks if you wish.
The speeder bike scenes on Endor made that whole movie awesome, and not just because you were secretly hoping one would crash into one of those annoying Ewoks and end their smug cuteness once and for all. Ever since I first saw those things whip across a movie screen, I have wished I would live to see the day when flying motorcycles would become a reality.
We haven't even perfected the flying car yet, but we could be one step closer to achieving the speeder bike the 5-year-old in all of us dreams of. A prototype for a flying tricycle called the Flike conducted a successful controlled test flight in Hungary in late April and its creators -- a group of Hungarian flight enthusiasts -- posted the results on YouTube in May (the video's just taking off on the Internet now -- pun intended).
According to the project's official website, the Flike is a "coaxial, Y6-layout tricopter" with six rotors to get it off the ground (just go with "flying tricycle" if you want to get less technical). The operator sits in the middle and can move the Flike just like a helicopter. However, the vehicle has a "full-authority flight management computer" that can handle things like flight stability and altitude, making the Flike "as easy as riding a bicycle."
The team -- which is currently looking for investors -- first took the Flike for a test drive last March, and even though the contraption got off the ground, the ride seemed a little choppy. This time, it looks like they've smoothed out some of the kinks and got their creation to take off and land with a bit more finesse.