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Wed, Jun 17, 2015

Manned Tricopter Achieves Stable Flight

Flike Is A Zero-Emission Personal Aircraft

File this under "How Soon Can I Get One." A Hungarian team of developers has achieved stable flight of a concept demonstrator for a personal aircraft they call the Flike, a manned tri-copter that the pilot sits astride like a bicycle.

Gizmag reports that the state-owned Bay Zoltan Nonprofit Ltd., an applied research institute in Hungary, has gone from drawing board to sustained hover in under a year. The flight took place March 2.

The Flike was airborne for only a few seconds on its first test. But then, so was Orville Wright. The takeoff weight of the Flike was 463 pounds, including the pilot.

In subsequent flights, the Flike was able to sustain a hover a few meters off the ground, and demonstrated hovering and maneuvering capabilities compensating for wind during a flight that lasted about a minute and a half, according to Gizmag.

The Flike is a "Y-6" configuration, meaning it has six contra-rotating rotors on three arms, each powered by its own electric motor. A flight management computer handles the stability calculations, and the lithium polymer batteries are projected to be able to power the Flike for up to 40 minutes of cruise flight, or 15-20 minutes of hover, according to the developers. They also say that if one motor fails, the others will provide enough emergency lift to prevent a crash.

Commercialization is the ultimate goal. The team is planning a second prototype, and the company's Facebook page shows a possible production aircraft with shielded rotors much like a ducted fan configuration. Bay Zoltan plans to spin off a startup company for commercial production, and is actively seeking investors for that effort.

(Top image via YouTube. Bottom image via Facebook)

FMI:  http://whatisflike.com/, Video

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