Ok, so I'm making a setting where people have colonized various objects in the solar system and out of it. One thing I know I want to include to flesh it out a bit* is a sport for low-gravity environments involving human-powered flight via lightweight machines similar to bikes. One of the things I'm having trouble with involving them is this:

How would they be steered?

I originally thought of keeping a bike handle type thing, but I thought that making the bike go forward or backwards would be kind of awkward (The machines are currently basically bikes with n-copter blades at their sides and landing skids below them as opposed to wheels). Then I thought of a joystick, but then I thought that it would be kind of hard to keep the bike steady. The bike needs to be capable of moving forwards and backwards by angling the blades and changing the speed of rotation of the blades, and side to side in the same way. Up and down motion and speed are controlled by how fast the rider pedals.**

*Read: I try to have a lot of attention to detail and I didn't want to just say, "There are flying bikes and sports involving them. That is all you know."

**I don't know how useful the information about how the bike needs to move is, but I included it just in case.


1 Answer 1


Since you are creating a VTOL craft, perhaps you should follow helicopter practice. The pilot will need a joystick and a collective for translations in all three axis. Since this is a bicycle, I am assuming that human muscle power is needed for flight, so rudder peddles will be out.

For maximum efficiency, the pilot should be in the recumbent position enter image description here

If you picture a coaxial, contra rotating rotor over top, and the pilot's hands dropped to the sides to manipulate the joystick and collective, you have an idea for a simple version (rotation around the vertical or Z axis can be done by varying the pitch of the rotors so one or the other applies more torque to the airframe).

A very small and lightweight craft like this could also be induced to bank by application of a bit of "body english" while in flight. The end result might look a bit like this: enter image description here

Pack a parachute, you might be in for a bumpy ride.


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