A hoverbike could soon become a reality and be used for manned US army flights. Jim Drury met the developers at Le Bourget.
It's still some years away, but the Malloy Aeronautics Hoverbike could one day be used for manned flights by the U.S. Army. These recent untethered tests proved the Hoverbike's stability. Earlier tethered tests showed how it will look in real flight. Malloy's Grant Stapleton says the Hoverbike is an ideal alternative to helicopters. SOUNDBITE (English) GRANT STAPLETON, MARKETING SALES DIRECTOR FOR MALLOY AERONAUTICS, SAYING: "With adducted rotors you immediately not only protect people and property if you were to bump into them, but if you ever were to bump into somebody or property it's going to bring the aircraft out of the air....It's inexpensive, it can carry a decent load, it can get in and out of very small spaces very quickly and it can be moved across continents very quickly because it can be folded and packed into a C130 or onto a ship and taken." At the Paris Airshow Malloy announced a deal to develop the Hoverbike in Maryland, with defence R&D specialists SURVICE. Their client is the U.S. Defense Department. SURVICE's Mark Butkiewicz. SOUNDBITE (English) SURVICE CORPORATE DIRECTOR, MARK BUTKIEWICZ (PRON: BUCKAWITZ), SAYING: "The Department of Defence is interested in Hoverbike technology because it can support multiple roles. It can transport troops over difficult terrain and when it's not used in that purpose it can also be used to transport logistics, supplies, and it can operate in both a manned and unmanned asset. It can also operate as a surveillance platform." Maryland Lieutenant Governor Boyd Rutherford welcomed the deal, which will bring jobs to the state. SOUNDBITE (English) LT. GOVERNOR OF MARYLAND, BOYD RUTHERFORD, SAYING: "It's a fascinating concept. I've seen the demonstration, the video demonstration. I think there can be a lot of applications, and maybe I'll be the fifth or sixth person to ride it. I'm going to wait until a couple of people ride it before me." Malloy's HQ will remain in the UK and despite the tie-up, the firm will stay independent, hoping to tap into commercial and leisure markets. For the Hoverbike, it seems, the sky's the limit.