Even though Harry Potter's motorbike could fly, there was no such thing as a real flying motorcycle when the "Harry Potter" series was first released in 1997. But there is now — apparently dreams do come true.
California-based Hoversurf delivered the first production model of what the company calls the "world's first legal personal drone" to the Dubai police force. The Hoverbike S3 2019 is an "electric vertical take-off and landing" (eVTOL) vehicle with a $150,000 price tag. And you can order one too if you have that kind of cash.
Although the Hoverbike S3 is available to individual buyers in the United States, law enforcement organizations will have to wait. The Dubai police force has exclusive rights to the bike for the time being, according to its agreement. The force is currently training two crews of officers to use the Hoverbike S3, with a focus on first responders, who will use the craft to access hard-to-reach areas.
The Hoverbike S3 takes two-and-a-half hours to charge, and can fly from 10 to 25 minutes with a single rider, or up to 40 minutes in "drone mode" (remote-controlled from the ground). Jalopnik has reported that the battery life may be improved in the future, which would enable a longer flight time.
Here are more specs of the Hoverbike S3 2019, from CNN:
- Weight: 253 pounds (114 kilograms)
- Top speed: 60 mph (96 kph)
- Safe flying altitude: 16 feet (4.8 meters)
Hoversurf's Chief Operating Officer Joseph Segura-Conn told Jalopnik that the ideal candidate to operate these vehicles is an experienced motorcycle rider who also knows how to use a drone. Though Hoversurf did not respond to our requests to discuss the actual training process, it's almost certainly intense. Several news outlets have reported that the Dubai officers currently in training won't even use the vehicles in the line of duty until 2020.
The company also announced late in 2018 that the vehicles meet Federal Aviation Administration guidelines for a "personal vertical take-off and landing aircraft" (meaning, basically, that riders don't need to use a runway). Furthermore, operators can use the vehicle without a pilot's license. But according to CNN, U.S. buyers will be screened to ensure they can operate the vehicle.
However, because Hoversurf was unresponsive to our repeated inquiries, who exactly is training the Dubai police officers, how they are qualified to train others, and what the training consists of is still a complete mystery. But hey, this is the future of transportation. We will certainly be looking for more information as it becomes available.