Marketplace has a new podcast for kids, "Million Bazillion!" EPISODE OUT NOW
Codebreaker

Fans will make your landspeeder dreams come true

Marc Sanchez Aug 22, 2012

Next to Tattooine, the best place to test out a flying bike that kinda looks like a Star Wars landspeeder is probably the Mojave Desert. That’s where Mark De Roche and his team at Aerofex tested theirs. The design uses two big fans, pointed towards the ground, to lift the bike up to 15 feet in the air and send it whizzing at speeds that tops out at 30 mph. Gizmodo points out that it doesn’t look like it takes much training or effort to hop on one of the bikes and go for a spin.

The human pilot just have to lean and balance in a natural way, much like you do while driving a bicycle or a motor bike. It’s all instinctive, says De Roche: “since [the pilot’s] balancing movements are instinctive and constant, it plays out quite effortlessly to him.”


Sadly the speeder bike isn’t for public consumption, at least not yet. Aerofex hopes they can sell a finished version to the military. Again from Gizmodo:

The company thinks that it can be used for heavy lifting in rough terrains, without having to care about wheels or caterpillar tracks. And, unlike helicopters and other flying devices, this one can go in between trees and canyons: “they have unique performance advantages […] as they have demonstrated flight within trees, close to walls and under bridges.”

We’re here to help you navigate this changed world and economy.

Our mission at Marketplace is to raise the economic intelligence of the country. It’s a tough task, but it’s never been more important.

In the past year, we’ve seen record unemployment, stimulus bills, and reddit users influencing the stock market. Marketplace helps you understand it all, will fact-based, approachable, and unbiased reporting.

Generous support from listeners and readers is what powers our nonprofit news—and your donation today will help provide this essential service. For just $5/month, you can sustain independent journalism that keeps you and thousands of others informed.