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IO Hawk, Anyone?

By Ian Brown, Editor, Bits and Pieces, EAA 657159

November 2015 - The idea of carrying transportation solutions with you in an aircraft is not new, but neither has it been very adequately solved, until perhaps now. Foldable bikes are a good choice, but this latest gadget might just be the solution for many. The IO Hawk (and its burgeoning clones, apparently all made in the same factory) is essentially like a cross between a compact Segway and a skateboard. You step on it and adjust your body weight, and it just goes in the direction you’re leaning: forward, back, in circles.
IO Hawk, Anyone? 
The IO Hawk

It has lights, can carry a 120-kilogram (264-pound) person, and can go up to 20 kilometers (12.5 miles) at 10 kph (approximately 6 mph). The handy thing about this device is that it’s so compact and weighs in at a very reasonable 10 kilogram (22 pounds)—no folding needed.

The two negatives one might point to are the price and the relatively athletic nature of the use of it. How many pilots at your local airport use a skateboard? The price is US$1,799, but a quick Google search was able to identify clones for as little as $230. You might be entertained by this YouTube video of someone presenting his ideas on how to use, improve, and buy one of these devices which he calls a “hover board” (though there is nothing really hovering here…the wheels stay on the ground!). We’re all going to have to figure out what to call it. The IO Hawk is one particular product offering but another I found on eBay was described as a “2wheel Mini Smart Self Balancing Somatic Electric Unicycle Scooter Balance Board” and yes, you can click on that link and see if there are any left at $230. I do know that if I were to buy two of these, they would fit with my passenger and baggage limit and still leave room for a tent, some clothes, and the mandatory computer bag. Imagine how many we’re going to see at AirVenture and Sun ’n Fun International Fly-In & Expo next year. What a great way to get around.

Thanks to my friend Doug Martin for sending this in and for mentioning that sometimes you just can’t find a cab from the airport to the motel. Been there! Now if I can just figure out how to sharpen up my sense of balance a bit more, and maybe figure out what protective gear the skateboarders are wearing these days!
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