This may seem a little wild, but it’s true. Subaru has officially broken out of the cars and SUVs marketplace and flown to new heights – at least on paper. Subaru has officially filed a patent application for a “land-and-air” vehicle in a real head-scratcher of a moment. As we dig deeper into the future, flying cars are spoken of more frequently. However, the patent diagram seems to show a motorcycle inside an aircraft fuselage.
Subaru is designing a flying motorcycle
There has been a lot of heat around the automotive industry surrounding this past April fool’s Day, with Volkswagen’s joke getting under some people’s skin. Motorcycles.com seemed a little weary to cover this story when they found the patent application on April 1st.
The folks at Motorcycles.com double and triple reassure that although they are keenly aware of what day this news broke, the actual patent application was filed in the U.S. by Subaru on July 22, 2020. Subaru filed the original patent in Japan in September of 2019. So, either somebody is playing way too much, or this patent application is legit. At the risk of taking the bait, the story seems to check out, and we are going to press forward accordingly.
What do we know about the Subaru flying motorcycle so far?
According to Motorcycles.com, this is actually the second patent Subaru has filed for a flying motorcycle. The first application was published by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) on March 4, after being filed on May 13, 2020, with an original filing in Japan on August 28, 2019.
Even though there are two different patents, both applications seem to be describing similar vehicles, if not just two iterations of the same craft. At first glance, it looks more like a spaceship than any motorcycle I’ve ever seen. The patents describe vehicles that can drive along the road like a motorcycle and take off and fly at will.
The thing about all this that you may not know is that Subaru doesn’t just make rally cars and safe SUVs. The Japanese manufacturer produces a large number of aircraft, from helicopters to drones, for the Japanese Military. With that in mind, maybe Subaru hasn’t lost its mind after all. In fact, they can probably make this thing happen.
How would this flying motorcycle take off?
According to the patent application, the motorcycle would drive around on the tarmac with its wings folded up against the fuselage. When it is time to shed its terrestrial limitations, the Subaru UFO sprouts its wings and can take off like a plane or do a helicopter-style vertical takeoff. Once aloft, the flying motorcycle is powered by two propellers and steered with a tail rutter.
The patent also describes the wheels of the flying motorcycle. The wheels still work like a typical motorcycle; the front wheel is attached to the frame, and the rear wheel is attached to a swing arm with suspension. The diagrams explain that while flying, the front and rear suspension will be electronically locked to keep things tight and stable.
The Subaru flying motorcycle will be a hybrid. While driving it in motorcycle mode (damn, that sounds cool), it will be driven by an internal combustion engine that powers the rear wheel. When it takes to the skies, the electric motors that power the propellers take over, and the craft becomes fully electric.
Although most motorcycle controls (gear shift, rear brake, etc.) are the same, two new levers might look a bit alien. The right side handlebar has a lever that, when you pull toward you, increases the propeller speed, and pushing away makes the craft slow down. The left side also has a similar lever that controls the pitch of the aircraft. The handlebars use steer-by-wire to control the craft the same way you would while it’s in motorcycle mode.
Subaru is officially the coolest
After hearing how cool this sci-fi craft could be, it is a bit brutal to know that we have no way of knowing when or even if it would ever actually be made. So, even though it is likely a light year away, at least we can rest assured that Subaru is trying to give us a flying motorcycle.