Ever since the first Back to the Future film in 1985 people have been fantasising about having their own hoverboard. It's something that, at the time, that was even more out of their reach than a shiny new De Lorean car. But fantasise no more because a Canadian inventor has flown nearly a thousand feet on a hoverboard that uses drone technology. Alexandru Duru, who comes originally from Romania, has developed a flying machine that you stand on. It's basically an octocopter - an eight propeller drone - with snowboard boot straps and a cable controlled hand throttle built out of a pair of wire cutters - and it's all powered by batteries ... big batteries and lots of them. Other developers with deeper pockets have been trying to perfect a high tech board which uses electromagnetic levitation systems but Alexandru has taken tried and tested multi-rotor technology to a new level. Not only that but he smashed the previous Guinness World Record by flying five times further than the previous record holder. He floated for nine hundred and five feet and two inches (275.9 metres) over Lake Ouareau near Montreal to clinch the record. He was a wise man to hover over water for safety reasons but the splash landing can't have helped the electronics. It doesn't seem to bother Alexandru though. Not only can Alexandru's hoverboard hover it can also soar. For its record flight it reached a height of 5 metres at times but it's capable of going higher. Although the controls are minimal, steering is done by shifting your weight. "The prototype can be used anywhere, but is usually tested over water because of how dangerously high it can fly (which is ironic considering that the movie joked that it can't)." Alexandre is reported to have said after the successful flight. A Guinness World Records spokesperson, said: “This is a truly mesmerising and incredible feat in the world of engineering and transportation. It’s always pleasing to see individuals such as Catalin Alexandru Duru achieve a Guinness World Records titles such as this in which personal endeavour continues to amaze us all.” Since his record flight Alexandru has stepped up his research and development. Here's a report from the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation's "The National" programme which shows more of the nuts and bolts of the hoverboard. When you've seen it, pre-order yours from Heliguy. Only joking ... for the time being anyway. I wonder how many Phantom 3s it would take to get me airborne?
You need a drone license when you are flying as a commercial drone pilot, ie when you are using your drone for work and money-making purposes. This means, in most cases, you will need to sit the FAA Part 107 test.
You do not need a drone license when you are flying as a hobby and for purely recreational purposes. However, you will need to operate by strict rules. There are plans to introduce the requirement for hobbyists to pass an online aeronautical knowledge and safety test.