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Future Tech

This is the new 1,340bhp hydrogen-powered Airspeeder Mk4 aircraft

Airspeeder is still desperate to make eVTOL racing a thing. Now features hydrogen and much power

Published: 21 Feb 2023

Remember Airspeeder? Of course you do. They’re the folk who have been trying to make flying 'car' racing happen since 2019, although we’re now onto the fourth-generation of Airspeeder’s ‘car’ and we’re yet to see any actual wheels. Make of that what you will.

Anyway, what you see above is the inventively titled Airspeeder Mk4, and we’re told that it’ll be the “world's fastest electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) aircraft”. It’ll be manned by a pilot/driver, will weigh 950kg, have a top speed of 225mph and (here’s the best bit) will be powered by a 1,340bhp ‘Thunderstrike Hydrogen Turbogenerator’.

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Previous Airspeeders have all been electric – with the Mk3 taking part in an unmanned drag race – but the company behind all this (Alauda Aeronautics) clearly now believes that hydrogen is the answer for this blade-to-blade racing series.

And it’s confident that there will still be an actual racing series too. In fact, it says that the ‘first crewed races’ are scheduled for 2024. Blimey. Testing is apparently underway in southern Australia as we speak. 

Fancy some more details on the Mk4? Well, here are some presented without comment. It apparently uses a 3D printed combustor that was developed by the ‘space industry’ for rocket engines. Said combustor "keeps the hydrogen flame temperature relatively low" which apparently reduces nitrous oxide emissions. The Mk4 also manoeuvres using a "unique gimballed thrust system" that is operated by an "artificial intelligence flight controller" which individually adjusts the four separate rotor pairs at each corner. 

“We, and the world, are ready for crewed flying car racing,” says Alauda Aeronautics boss Matt Pearson. “We have built the vehicles, developed the sport, secured the venues, attracted the sponsors and technical partners. Now is the time for the world’s most progressive, innovative and ambitious automotive brands, OEM manufacturers and motorsport teams to be part of a truly revolutionary new motorsport. In unveiling the crewed Airspeeder Mk4 we show the vehicles that will battle it out in blade-to-blade racing crewed by the most highly-skilled pilots in their fields.”

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So what do we reckon to all of that? Will we see Ford vs Ferrari: The Rematch in the skies at some point soon?

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