Is There Such Thing as a Flying Motorcycle?

People have been dreaming of personal flight for a very long time. For instance, people in the English-speaking world will be most familiar with the Greek legend of Daedalus, who built the Labyrinth for King Minos but was imprisoned in a tower either to prevent his knowledge of the Labyrinth from spreading outwards or because his knowledge of the Labyrinth had spread outwards. Whatever the case, he built a pair of wings for himself as well as another pair of wings for his son Icarus, which would enable them to fly to freedom. Before the two set out, Daedalus warned Icarus that he should avoid flying too high and flying too low. In the first case, the heat of the sun would melt the wax holding the feathers together; in the second case, the sea foam would soak through the feathers. Unfortunately, Icarus forgot his father’s warning in his exuberance, with the result that he fell from the sky before drowning in the sea.

The Greek legend was, well, a Greek legend. However, it is interesting to note that there have been people who made artificial wings for themselves before jumping off of towers. One excellent example would be the Andalusian polymath Abbas ibn Firnas, who made contributions to fields such as astronomy, glass manufacturing, and lens manufacturing but tends to be best-remembered for the fact that he survived his attempt at heavier-than-air flight. As the story goes, the man flew for some distance but winded up hurting his back, supposedly because he had forgotten to provide himself with an artificial tail to go along with the artificial wings. Similarly, other people in other times and places have tried out other ways of enabling personal flight. For example, the Chinese invented kites and then man-lifting kites, though the evidence suggests that the latter didn’t make for a very comfortable experience to say the least. Likewise, interested individuals might have heard of Leonardo da Vinci’s work on the topic, which was inspired by his studies of both bat flight and bird flight.

In the present time, heavier-than-air flight has become normal for us. After all, there are thousands and thousands of flights in a single day, so much so that they add up to millions and millions of flights in a single year. However, those flights aren’t as quite as personal as what a lot of dreamers either had or have in mind, meaning that there is still a gap in the market that is just waiting to be filled. For proof, look no further than the fact that interested individuals continue envisioning a wide range of both fantastic and not so fantastic machines for said purpose, with an excellent example being flying motorcycles.

Why Would People Want a Flying Motorcycle?

Of course, flying motorcycles aren’t always envisioned as flying motorcycles. Strictly speaking, a motorcycle needs to be a two-wheeled motor vehicle. There is some leeway in this matter. For example, there are some juridisctions in which three-wheeled motor vehicles can be considered motorcycles rather than something else altogether. Similarly, the term moped is sometimes used to refer to a two-wheeled motor vehicle that has both bicycle pedals and a motorcycle engine, thus making it something that is somewhere in-between. However, there are still real limits to that leeway. Something like the Star Wars swoop would not be considered a motorcycle in the strictest sense because it has no wheels whatsoever, which is very amusing because everyone can tell what vehicle it was supposed to evoke in a single glance.

Still, there is clear interest in the idea of a flying motorcycle, though the exact nature of that interest is something that presumably sees significant variation from person to person. In some cases, it could be because motorcycles are cool. Granted, they don’t have the same connotations of rebelliousness that they had once upon a time. However, motorcycles still retain some of their mystique, thus making them an appealing choice for a wide range of people with a wide range of backgrounds. Besides this, arguments can be made for familiarity as well as for convenience. Simply put, people are more comfortable with the idea of riding a flying motorcycle than making use of some of the other proposed candidates out there. After all, it feels like it should be similar to riding a normal motorcycle, which is a very normal thing to do in most people’s minds. In contrast, while there are people out there who would be willing to use something like, say, a personal jetpack for routine travel, most of the population would treat that suggestion with much more skepticism. As for convenience, well, the idea is that a true flying motorcycle would be as convenient as a normal motorcycle. If that ever happened, it would be remarkable because it would offer the additional travel options of an aerial vehicle without being as impractical as the options that are currently available, meaning that it would be a huge step-up in a wide range of respects.

Are Flying Motorcycles Real?

Regardless, it is interesting to note that flying motorcycles are actually real. To name an example, there is Ludovic Lazareth’s LVM 496 flying motorcycle, which is a two-wheeled motor vehicle with side turbines that are powerful enough for it to fly off of the ground. However, interested individuals should lower their expectations before getting too excited because it is clear that its flight capabilities are more of a gimmick than anything else. For example, it carries enough fuel for just ten minutes of continuous flight, which isn’t quite what most people would expect based on the flying motorcycles seen in both sci-fi and fantasy media. Similarly, it is limited to flying just a few feet off of the ground, which once again, falls far short of its fictional counterparts.

Still, this is more than enough reason to be optimistic in this regard. After all, this shows that there is a clear path by which flying motorcycles can become a thing, so it is possible than the LVM 496 and its modern-day counterparts will be just the forerunners of much more powerful and much more practical motor vehicles that are still to come. It is difficult to predict anything about future trends, but this is more than enough to show that flying motorcycles are real rather than something that will remain relegated to the realm of fiction for the foreseeable future.

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