A researcher from the University of Nottingham in the UK has developed innovative flying motorcycle designs.

The designs are developed by Richard Glassock, a specialist in hybrid propulsion systems for aircraft at the Institute for Aerospace Technology (IAT) of University of Nottingham, and feature a detachable motorcycle acting as an additional power source for an electric aircraft to extend flight duration.

The new RExLite and RExMoto designs can be powered by conventionally fuelled, combustion engine-driven electrical generators to supply energy at peak efficiency.

RExLite is a self-contained 40kW electrical generation power plant that can be fitted to various electric aircraft to receive up to three hours of extra endurance through conventional combustion of hydrocarbon fuel.

“As aircraft of the future adopt more electrical systems, we need engineering solutions to overcome current limitations."

It can also increase the range and endurance of small two-seater all-electric aircraft.

RExMoto is a modular 50kW electrical generation power plant that can be attached to electric aircraft. Designed as a conventional scooter or motorcycle, it provides two to three hours of additional endurance.

The new hybrid electric aircraft designs are also capable of releasing minimal emissions.

The designs could attract private aircraft owners who would be able to fly their aircraft for longer durations, reducing emissions and requiring less fuel, and then use the detachable motorcycle to continue their journey after landing.

Glassock said: “As aircraft of the future adopt more electrical systems, we need engineering solutions to overcome current limitations.

“With RexLite and RExMoto, leisure craft will be able to fly much further for much longer, offering pilots and owners of private two-seater or four-seater aircraft real benefits when commuting.

“The benefits also extend to pilot training as more electric aircraft will lower running costs, fuel burn and achieve an appreciable reduction in noise levels, most notably at suburban airports. As airports are gradually hemmed in by the suburban sprawl, the use of the hybrid range extenders may make evening and night training flights of electric aircraft more acceptable.”

Further research is expected to be carried out to see the new designs’ feasibility for commercial use.