As well as cool robots, hacks and science, Geek Tech loves to check out bizarre flying contraptions that may eventually replace transport on wheels. Who wouldn't want to trade in their car for a hoverbike? So, how does a DIY project to create a flying machine equipped with eight motorcycle engines sound?
Farmer Shu Mansheng from China designed and built the circular device in his home-- images of the machine are on Reuters. It's actually his fifth attempt at creating a flying machine--it's not known what happened to the previous prototypes. The machine cost Shu around $3,135 to create, and is about 18 feet in diameter. The main frame is created out of steel from other modes of transport, and the eight engines are attached to propellers. The driver sits is a small square cockpit just above the propellers and engines. Presumably with eight bike engines strapped on, those propellers are going to go at some speed, so getting out of the seat while the machine is running would probably be a dangerous idea.
It may sound ridiculous, but recently Shu did manage to get it off the ground. Just outside his home, onlookers would have witnessed the flying contraption hover for 10 seconds at 3.3 meters before landing again.
Considering the materials used and Shu not exactly having qualifications in aerodynamics (according to The Escapist he is a Junior School graduate, which in the US is around middle school level), this first test attempt is pretty impressive. Especially in comparison to much more "high tech" machines Geek Tech has covered. While the farmer will be continuing to tinker with his project to make it hoover higher, right now it's hard to believe this will ever be safe enough to jump into and drive.