Launched in 2015, the Assen VTOL hoverbike program consists of two models, the A1 Explorer prototype and the in-development A2 Avenger.
The A1 Explorer prototype is a small, electric ducted fan tri-copter eVTOL hoverbike that underwent its first flight test in September of 2018. The remotely-piloted test flight was untethered, with the A1 flying for a short period of time. Since then the hoverbike has been a big hit on the tradeshow circuit, including the EAA AirVenture event in Oshkosh, Wisconsin.
However, as the A1 is meant to be a prototype only, the company is not developing it further. Instead, it is focused on the A2 Avenger, which is the A1’s successor. The A2 is a refinement of the A1 and is being developed for commercialization. In fact, the company claims it already has a number of customer commitments.
The hoverbike features fly-by-wire controls, which will limit a pilot’s speed and altitude and not allow him or her to exceed roll and pitch limits. In its current configuration, the pilot, who sits on the hoverbike as they would on a standard motorbike, will have control of the navigation and routing, with features like trip pre-programming and in-flight rerouting being added in the future. The ultimate goal is to create an application that will let the pilot call the bike remotely.
The hoverbike is intended for recreational use and sport racing and is designed to fit into a normal parking space or garage. According to the company, flying the hoverbike will not require advanced piloting skills and should be similar to flying a drone or riding a normal motorcycle.
Assen says it has developed 98 percent of the aircraft in-house and is operating under FAA's Part FAR 103 rules. Up to this point, the program has been privately funded, although the company says it is considering a funding round in the near future.