So, when building things like flying machines setbacks happen. We finished construction of the FlytCycle v2 and have been doing flight testing for a little over two weeks now and ran into a couple problems we didn't expect. We think it's a design flaw that we've never encountered before related to one of the major changes we made.
Unfortunately, that means we don't have flight test footage to share with you right now while we work on the problem. It was designed to be a showcase product and looks fantastic, but that doesn't matter if it doesn't fly well.
To fix the problem we likely have to scrap the new design we were trying and go back to a similar one to version 1. We're going to work around the clock to get back in the air and accomplish our goal of making something that flies well and looks good at the same time and hope that this will only set us back another 2-3 weeks. Hopefully we'll have some new flight footage by mid-May!
About the FlytCycle v1
Back in December we finished the first test platform in the video above. It's purpose was to answer some basic questions we had around feasibility and to allow us to quickly test some things. We flew it with people riding it and with no tethers for several minutes at a time. and it exceeded our highest expectations. It answered all the questions we had and more, specifically:
- It works!
- It's very stable
- It's highly maneuverable
- It flies for several minutes at a time with no problems
- And most importantly, it's really fun to ride!
Wait, I thought you were building flying machines...
Yes - you're absolutely correct! Our long-term vision and strategy is to build VTOL vehicles for transportation, but right now batteries just aren't that good and lead to short flight times. This makes it hard to develop a business around it, at least in the short term.
So, we decided to pivot and focus on the entertainment market instead. By doing this we can eliminate the three biggest problems we were facing:
- Regulatory - By staying much closer to the ground (<10ft) we can avoid the regulatory problems we would have run into when flying a person hundreds of feet in the air
- Safety - Staying closer to the ground also is much safer for the pilot in case something goes wrong. We obviously try very, very hard to prevent this from happening but the truth is that you can't test each and every situation in advance, and this means the pilot is much safer while the technology is still being perfected.
- Flight time - We struggled to build something that could fly long enough to be really useful. When we were looking at a $20,000 battery pack alone (or more) we knew that battery technology just wasn't good enough to do what we needed. By focusing on entertainment with smaller battery packs we don't have to worry about being able to fly a 20+ mile round trip on a single charge.
Ok, So what are you doing now?
Like we said above, we're built a super quick and dirty prototype to test the concept in just 11 days which we know was ugly, but it was just a testing platform! Right now we're hard at work on version 2.0 which will look 100x better and be representative of a production version.
Stay tuned for more updates, we should have photos and video to share in Early April!