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Flying Bicycle, Version Two

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Last week, a group of Czech engineers flew a hybrid bicycle/multi-copter by remote control, but this week, another take on the flying-bicycle concept -- one that's already flown with live human pilots -- turned up in the news. This one is basically a lightweight powered-parachute with a bicycle attached as a means of traveling from your garage to your launch site. For a powered parachute, the launch site doesn't have to be much more than an open field. The folding bicycle tows a two-wheeled trailer that holds the fan. An optional tent creates an all-in-one door-to-campsite recreational vehicle. Its British creators have spent two years developing and test-flying a prototype, and now have launched a Kickstarter campaign with the hope of developing a production line.

"One of the biggest barriers to flying is cost," says Yannick Read, one of the aircraft's designers. "One of the beauties about the flying bicycle is that it's accessible and it's affordable." John Foden, co-designer, said, "We wanted something that we could ride and fly out of our backyard." The flying bicycle, called the Paravelo, is aimed to appeal to people who want to explore the outdoors. The system is modular -- the bicycle can be used on its own, and folds up for carrying on a bus or subway. Docked with the two-wheel trailer, the system can carry "all the equipment you need to ride, fly, and camp," the designers say. The bicycle and trailer can be detached and the fan can be carried like a backpack for foot-launched flying. Fully rigged, the aircraft can fly for up to three hours at about 25 mph.

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