Tech & Toys

LMV 496 La Moto Volante

The Flying Motorcycle

For half a mill $, four jet turbines provide lift-off for 10 minutes

by Sagar Patil,

Remember watching Vin Diesel in the sci-fi Babylon A.D.? If you do, I pity the plight you had to sit through for it was a pile of steaming and smelly goo. But there was a motorcycle in it amongst other custom vehicles which ended up in a crash, and it was nothing but a 1999 Yamaha R1 made by Frenchman, Ludovic Lazareth.

The same madman has now delivered the limited edition LMV 496 La Moto Volante, which translates to “The Flying Motorcycle.” Defying all odds, including gravity, this Jet powered machine is an updated artistry from yet another mind-bending machine – the LM-847, a tilting four-wheeler built around a fire-breathing 470-horsepower Maserati engine.

Without disturbing its DNA, Lazereth has swapped that petrol-powered mill to an electric powertrain that would give the 496 a 62-mile range. For the pièce de résistance, pull a switch, and the wheels hydraulically move from their upright orientation to a horizontal one. The rumble of four jet turbines that pop out from the four-wheel hubs starts putting things in perspective, and 60 seconds later, you have lift-off.

Powered by four 96,000-rpm JetCat jet turbines, this 308 lb motorcycle could make some 529 lb of thrust, which is about a whopping 1,300 horsepower. Concealed within the composite body is a kerosene tank with enough fuel capacity to allow the LMV 496 hover above the ground for a good ten minutes. While in flight, the dashboard displays essential flight information such as speed, position, altitude, etc., and joysticks on either side of the handlebar control this rush of ecstasy.

The four JetCat turbines are pretty legit and are made by the same German chaps that work on the NASA/Skunk Works X-56A experimental aircraft, among others. Until future technology prevails, this LMV 496 can only hover to up to 3.3 feet above the ground, and not fly away (just in case you decide to beat the traffic).

If you observe, two extra turbines can be seen on either side of the chassis to handle more weight (or to provide forward thrust). The rest of this maniac still carries the LM 847 design elements like the kevlar carbon composite bodywork, Italian rear loop, carbon wheel covers, TFX Suspension Technology, a digital dash, driving position, light steering, Rizoma accessories, braking, and the undercarriage technology.

Only five copies of the LM 496 will be ever made. The motorcycles available to order are the numbers # 002, # 003, # 004 and # 005. And each of these flying machines can be picked up if you are ready to foot almost half a million dollars of your worth.

Luckily for us, competition is booming. Hoversurf inc., a Russian technology company, has been at designing personal quadcopter hoverbike for a while now, then there is a guy making use of two Rotax lawnmower engines to build a hoverbike using a light alloy frame. Jetpack Aviation’s Speeder made by a California startup also showed a concept of their jet-powered machine.

The day has come to give your dreams a new power.