You know how in old cartoons the motorcycle cop is always waiting behind a billboard to catch a speeder, but he can’t really hide his bike behind the sign’s poles? Well, now in Dubai, the cop may soon actually be behind the billboard – off the ground.
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California manufacturer Hoversurf presented its S3 2019 hoverbike to Dubai police at this year’s GITEX 2018. Hoversurf says it began a partnership with the Dubai police in 2017 and the S3 2019 is the result, a vehicle Hoversurf claims is “the most advanced hoverbike the world has ever seen… combining a custom-built flight controller (and) the most innovative composite material processes.”
The hoverbike is expected to become part of the Dubai police fleet in 2020 – a fleet that already includes a Ferrari and a Lamborghini among its patrol cars. Because those are very necessary for fighting crime.
But you don’t have to join the Dubai police to ride the S3 2019. Anyone with US $150,000 (£114,000) can buy one. You don’t even need a pilot’s license. The company says the hoverbike has officially passed United States FAA guidelines to be classified as an ultralight aircraft, which means no pilot license or certification of the device is needed. However, Hoversurf says it will require prospective owners to prove they can safely operate the bike.
Hoversurf says that at 253 pounds (114 kg), the S3 2019 is much lighter than their previous aluminum model, achieving the weight reduction by using different types of carbon fiber technology to create a monocoque frame. For those of you not fully up to speed on your material sciences, that means a skin that supports the object’s weight, much like an eggshell.
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The company says the bike’s dimensions allow it to be rolled through a doorway and that it can take off and land from a standard parking space. They recommend a safe flight altitude of 16 feet, but the pilot can adjust that for comfort. Its maximum speed, as required by the FAA ultralight standard, is 60 mph.
Hoversurf says the lighter frame allowed them to put in a bigger battery, but you can still only stay aloft for 10-25 minutes, depending on the weight of the pilot and weather conditions; you can fly it remotely for up to 40 minutes in pilotless drone mode. So there’s that. And the onboard joystick controllers come with genuine leather covers, much better than plastic ones.
So, the first trans-Atlantic hoverbike record is probably a ways away. But your cop on a hoverbike should still be able to stay in the air long enough to pull over the occasional speeder – as long as they don’t go over 60 mph. And how cool would it be to be able to say you got caught in a hoverbike speed trap in Dubai?