About the developer
JetPack Aviation is a privately held company comprised of a team of engineers and aviators who are fully focused on their mission of building the fastest, smallest and safest VTOL aircraft in the world.
JetPack Aviation has been a leader in the micropersonal vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) industry for the past 10 years. Based in Los Angeles, California, the company strives to build the safest, smallest and fastest VTOL aircraft possible. Between 2010 and 2015, they designed and built the world’s first portable JetPack.
After eight previous iterations, JPA CEO David Mayman made his first official controlled flight around the Statue of Liberty in November 2015 wearing a JB9 JetPack version.
Developer about the project
Recreational SpeederTM is a unique versatile portable flying platform from JetPack Aviation, developed by the company since August 2018. It is an ideal option for personal transport. It fully supports vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) and can take off efficiently from anywhere the size of a small car. Initially intended only for military, government and commercial customers, JPA is also developing a version of the Speeder TM for the civilian market. It will be lighter than most 125cc motorcycles. see, fully stabilized and easy to operate.
Key features of the SpeederTM:
- Flying on the SpeederTM will be like riding a motorcycle, but only in the sky
- Full stabilization means minimal pilot training required
- It will take off from almost anywhere and will fly at over 240 km/h.
- It will also fly at altitudes up to 4,500 meters (max. ceiling adjustable based on customer preference)
The developer plans to create two versions of Recreational SpeederTM: Ultralight Version and Experimental Category Version.
Ultralight Version (UVS or Ultralight Version)
does not require a pilot’s license to operate – the entire training process will be provided by the developer or one of the authorized training centers. The Ultralight version will be limited to 19 liters of fuel and a flight speed of 97 km/h.
Experimental Version (EVS or Experimental Version)
will require a private pilot’s license and will have no fuel or speed restrictions. As an EVS owner/pilot, the developer will accommodate you in their manufacturing facility and you will be part of the aircraft assembly process. This will comply with the FAA’s rules for the production of experimental aircraft. Full training will be conducted at the JPA Training Center in California, where we remain the only FAA-certified instructors in the world.
First successful test
After spending 18 months building brand new flight management software, Jetpack Aviation has successfully completed flight testing of its first Speeder prototype, a jet-powered flying motorcycle.
*JPA test platform testing the innovative VTOL thrust vectoring flight control system.
According to David Maiman, the Speeder will be a very compact VTOL aircraft, powered by the same extremely powerful miniature jet engines that power its jetpacks. Only now the ship will be able to carry much heavier loads, including up to two people, at higher speeds, and it will also be much faster and easier to deploy than a jetpack – you just jump on it and fly.
David also noted that, in addition, the Speeder will be electronically self-stabilized, like any drone in existence today. Despite the simplicity and banality, in the case of jet propulsion, everything is not as simple as it seems; Electric motors are capable of generating torque almost instantly, which is why drones with an electric multi-motor propulsion system, by quickly changing the thrust on several propellers, can ensure a stable hover of the vessel in the air.
Jet turbines increase and decrease thrust much more slowly; Maiman currently operates his jetpacks by hand, literally tilting the jet engines with his hands.
*David Mayman wearing a JB9 JetPack.
So in order to create a flying motorcycle that is as stable, safe and easy to fly as a drone, while also flying much faster and farther with more cargo, the Jetpack Aviation team had to go back to the original basics and develop a new type of software. flight control software that does not rely on rapidly changing thrust for balance and control.
“We literally had to start from scratch,” Maiman says. “We have a great flight systems engineer, but he had to go back to physics simulation. We had several different thrust configurations that we wanted to try, so we had to create a flight control software that could be completely flexible. Our first prototype, the P1, is a big aluminum chassis, much bigger than we need so we can move the engines around, try different placements. If it was electric, you could refer to the code library for all of this. We had to write every line of code in the flight controller from scratch.”
Instead of differential thrust, JPAs use so-called jetators, servo-controlled nozzles that can quickly direct the thrust of each jet engine over a 360-degree range for lightning-fast balance adjustments and maneuvers. Maiman says that with the new flight control software, everything works like clockwork.
“It’s amazing how stable and stable the system is when we control the engines, shift the center of mass, or just change the weight as the fuel load decreases,” he says. “We put dummy weights on it and it handles them very well, it just automatically counteracts them. We conducted test flights in 30-knot winds.
“At the moment, we have made sure that it can take off, gain altitude, make turns. It can keep itself in a stable hovering state through the use of LiDAR technology. Good and accurate. Today, the test platform drifts slowly but maybe a foot in five minutes, but if you push it with a pole, it will deflect and then return to its original place.
*Speeder Flying Motorcycle: Jetpack Aviation’s latest project.
Speeder will be able to provide long-range and high-speed horizontal flight if the user installs removable wings on it.
“Once we get on the wings, about 70 percent of the lift will come from the aerodynamic forces around the wing, not from the vertical thrust of the engines,” Maiman says. This is how we can go from a 20 minute flight to almost an hour.” The idea is to make Speeder modular; we have potential end users in the US Marine Corps who want to be able to fly, say, 480 km. To do this, you will need a large wingspan of about 4.5-5.18 m). And it is quite possible, on such a wing, the rear engines will operate at about 30 percent, and the front ones at idle.
*Closed cargo versions will be able to reach huge speeds.
Mayman says the Speeder will be stackable and can be deployed from a trailer, truck or launch pad. Wing options can be easily stored next to the hull, offering different sizes for different missions. “Sometimes you just want to fly the base gear, so it has to be modular and adaptable to the field. For very long-range flights, you can use the so-called “wet” wing, which can accommodate a container with additional fuel.”
Max. flight speed
With the wings attached, this flying bike’s top speed is largely determined by its shape. “Based on this, we expect that with a well-faired cargo version we will be able to reach speeds of over 480 km/h. Piloted versions will be a bit slower because the pilot will need to be able to see, plus many of them will be open topped.
Winged flight will most likely require some kind of control surfaces programmed into flight control software to keep the pilot’s control scheme super simple and non-contact. This is a whole new set of challenges for the flight engineering team because the software must be as adaptable to different aerodynamic shapes as it is to different thrust and weight configurations.
*Eight-motor flying karts will operate on the same platform.
As for what the final version of the aircraft will look like, it is, so to speak, still in the air. The Speeder will not feature a single, tightly packed five-jet powerplant under the middle of the bike, as shown in the original renders. It was handy for achieving redundancy, Mayman says, but not good for thrust vectoring in winged flight mode. Redundancy can be achieved by installing two turbines at each corner. The JPA will likely use a head-first, belly-down, motorcycle-style seating position, or perhaps use a recumbent seat, which would do something closer to flying karting.
Or both; From a material point of view, it doesn’t matter to Jetpack Aviation what the aircraft will look like in the end. The company is not just building a standalone product, but a platform that can be adapted to launch different aircraft with different powerplants according to different customer requirements.
Consumer version and price
The consumer version is still under development and will most likely be a single-seat vehicle with eight jets, two for each gimbal for greater redundancy. The developer says that the cost of the device has now risen from the previous estimate to $380,000 per unit. A potential client can even pre-order on the official website.
Speeder for military and first responders
Primarily the Speeder will debut as a dedicated vehicle for the military and first responders. Perhaps there is no faster way to deliver cargo between two points, or to transport one or two people from ship to shore or from shore to ship. “The Marines asked us if we could move something from launch to, say, 240 km in 20 minutes because that would make a big difference in their combat planning,” Maiman says. “Technically, yes, we could; right now they don’t have anything that can do it at four times the speed of a helicopter. The SWAT guys asked if we could carry more than 900 kg. And the answer again is yes, because the flight controller doesn’t care if you use four engines or twelve.
*Attachable stretcher can make the Speeder a vital asset for rescue missions.
Speeder for the Ministry of Emergency Situations
It can get a paramedic up the mountain to an injured skier faster than anything else, carrying a full set of medical equipment, and lowering the injured person back down just as quickly either directly in the stretcher or in the second seat, needing only a very small flat area to land on. .
As a fire extinguisher, it can deploy very quickly without a pilot, from a base or from the back of a truck, delivering 300 kg of flame retardant directly to the fire before it has time to ignite. For such work, you need a huge electric VTOL. “Lightning detection systems are now so good that they actually know when a fire is starting,” Maiman says. “Now it takes them too long to get an asset to a fire, and that’s where we put our hands up.”
What’s in the future?
Work is currently underway on the P1.5 prototype, which will get rid of all scaffolding and be much smaller and closer to the final carbon fiber-hulled passenger version. Again, it will use four jet turbines – there will be eight in the final product – and JPA expects to have it airborne later this summer (in the Northern Hemisphere). If all goes according to plan, the P1.5 will fly without a leash. Its main objectives are to demonstrate “increasingly faster transitions, as well as faster flight forward, backward and sideways.”
It will be followed by the P2, which will introduce a fully formed hull, nasal passages and retractable wings. It is he who will have to demonstrate high-speed forward flight, hovering and exit from it, as well as the use of any aerodynamic control surfaces in addition to vector thrust.
In addition, there is a chance to do some work on combating the ferocious noise that these jet turbines make. One approach, Meiman says, is to make some kind of combs on the exhaust pipes, like commercial jet aircraft do, which should essentially reduce the noise that occurs when fast-moving exhaust gases collide with still ambient air. Another option is to surround the turbines themselves with sound-absorbing airgel.
When is the first flight?
It is currently unclear when the first manned flights on the Speeder will take place, but when it will happen, there is no doubt about who will be the first to fly it. Oh yes, Maiman chuckles. “I am preparing for the first manned test. We don’t doubt it for a second.”