Samson Motorworks SkyBike takes riding airborne

Dailies -


Samson_motorworks_skybike_4.jpg“With our three-wheel enclosed vehicle, you can drive in air conditioned comfort to a local airport where the wings are extended, fly to another airport to land, retract the wings and then continue to drive wherever you want to go.” Samson Motorworks envisions its SkyBike as the ultimate personal transportation solution, combining the efficiency and manufacturing processes of a motorcycle with an aircraft’s ability to, well, fly.  The company claims it is close to putting the SkyBike concept into production.
>Samson_Motorworks_skybike.jpgBy using telescopic wings capable of fully retracting into the
bodywork, Samson hopes its creation will succeed where other flying
cars and motorcycles have failed by being just as competent a road
vehicle as it is an airplane. The SkyBike will use a small, efficient
motorcycle engine, enabling it to use normal pump gas and refuel at
regular filling stations.

Samson_Motorworks_skybike_3.jpgPerformance expectations for the vehicle include 55mpg economy on land,
25 in the air, a 95mph maximum road velocity / 140+ while flying,
0-60mph in six seconds and it should only need a 500′ runway to take
off. The SkyBike achieves these figures by coupling the motorcycle
engine to the rear wheels while driving and to the rear-mounted
propeller on airplane mode.

Samson_Motorworks_Skybike_2.jpgSamson sees one other important innovation, “This could make flying
safer, as it takes away that ‘got to make it home’ pressure when the
weather starts to turn rough.”

Samson_Motorworks_skybike_5.jpgSamson Motorworks via The New Cafe Racer Society

  • Big Mick

    this is just so much B/S, and is a pipe dream that has been repeated ad nauseum since the old Popular Mechanics mags of the 70′s, No way they can produce enough thrust with a fan to overcome the weight, and bugger all airbraking making landing on bike wheels at high speed a little bit tricky, no?
    close to production my furry hat…

  • jeffrey liebgold

    55 mpg on land for a claimed 120hp engine….another marketing/money raising fantasy? I agree with Big Mick!
    The graphics are nice, though.


  • Larry Dighera

    What sort of structural integrity can one expect from a telescoping wing spar?

    Is there adequate wing area to support this “aircraft?”

    Lack of vertical control surface belies a lack of aeronautical engineering in this design.

    None of these issues are unsurmountable.

    Here’s hoping the development effort is fruitful.

  • Armando Vargas

    Definitevely the fan configuration might not work, but why not an standard prop to push it, as an EZ or Cosy. Might have to protect the prop with a cage…

  • Sam Bousfield

    Some things to think about. The motorcycl that the SkyBike is getting its engine from provides 45 mpg, and a motorcycle/rider is about as aerodynamic as a tree. Cleaning up the drag would produce a significant increase in mpg.

    The ducted fan was tested with a 70 hp motor and produced 250 lb thrust, which was sufficient to fly the 1300 lb vehicle. With 120 hp, thrust goes to 350 lb – so adequate thrust is there.

    The lack of vertical stabilizer is a smart catch. Not everybody spots that. We couldn’t show it at this point as the patent has not been filed quite yet, and we don’t want to lose patent rights. Engineers have it, though, and have approved the vehicle flight dynamics.

    Wing loading is 15 psf, which is not bad.

  • George Payne

    With modern materials a telescoping wing spar could easily be strong enough for the wing loading.

    Using a lightweight, high power-to-weight ratio rotary engine, possibly with a folding prop similar to those used on a number of motorgliders…. Hmm!

  • wingnutz

    whilst I commend the boldness of the attempt and ingenuity of the designer, I have many concerns in the practicality and feasibility of the design. I quote: “calculate the wing area and the Fan Swept Area, The wing area is used in wing loading, the fan swept area is used in calculating the duct needed to feed the fans and produce the power and the effllux speed to fly your plane. Once these are calculated estimate the draw of the fan motors, The thrust figure should also be at least half of the all up weight.
    The fan swept area is found by working the area of the inside of the shroud/cover and also the motor holder, subtract the motor holder area from the shroud area for the FSA. This area is for the duct, which works out as 110-120% of the FSA for the inlet, and 88-95% of the FSA for the outlet. The control of the area the air flows thru controls the power the plane could protentially produce.”
    Your ducting – if FSA = 120% is way undersized and will not come even close to allowing sufficient airflow to the fan. I also have no doubt that should it somehow fly the airflow disruption caused by the canard at even mildly steep angles of attack could sufficiently disrupt and break the airflow over the wing causing deep stall. there are a number of other concerns but I truly hope that this ‘dream’ comes to life or atleast inspires improvements, or atleast developments.

  • Sam Brunetto

    What would be the target price?
    Also, how about a turbine engine as they have turbine motorcycles out there already? ( Jay Leno has one).

  • John steichn

    Another harebrain idea. I fly a canard aircraft. I have seen a canard aircraft that went too fast with out its rear wings. This vehicle will not be stable at 95 mph with the wing retracted. The front became airborne and destroyed the aircraft. There is no vertical control surface. No rudder. Telescoping ailerons? give me a brake. The aspect ratio of the canard is hopeless. Where are the required elevators on the canard.

  • William Fairney

    How about using the FairDiesel diesel-powered barrel engine, for compactness, lightness and fuel efficiency?

  • Elliott Weinstein

    I have developed a retractible wing four place roadable aircraft that seems to address your reader’s concerns. I have made a model of this plane and I would like to talk with you.

  • David Christensen

    See the 1930s Russian NIAI design for telescoping wings used on the RK/LIG-7 ( reportedly using hydraulically driven power to extend the wing sections in 14 seconds)and the related NIAI RK-1 combat aircraft using a variable ( telescoping) wing design.

    On the RK-1, tandem wings were used to support and guide the telescoping sections which provided a considerale increase in wing area
    between the tandem wings. The prototype was completed in early 1940 but suffered from an inadequate engine promoted by Josef Stalin.

    It may be technically feasible but there are likely better ways to achieve the same results with a less comlex approach.

    Dave Christensen
    Aerospace Consultant

  • Ernest J.Petrocelli

    When will you go into production or in Kit form? I think you may have been asked this before. What is the price tag on it expected to be?

  • Arif Buhara

    I would like to take a side by side flight filming with wingsuit and skybike:::: )–)@

  • Fourmil Abdjan Jr.

    No rudder? This thing looks ridiculous. Prove me wrong in a crosswind landing.

  • antti

    if i would have funding and resourses plus people i need to contstuct the first desing i could easily build a flying motorcycle that would blow your mind ;D and pockets with money allso XD he he

  • Bill

    This just shows you how corporations in general think the public as a whole is really stupid.
    Even if this fly’s which is doubt full taking off and landing would wear out the struts and other suspension parts way before there time. also consider the weight and balance of the craft this is not a pipe dream it is a joke and it is being played on us the public to prove the age old saying ” a fool and his money are soon parted”