Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Point of View

I watch the Russell Crowe in his latest film, Unhinged. (That's the name of the film, not the way I was watching).

Not a TV programme or film goes by nowadays without aerial shots taken from drones, and yet the providers of the same in this case are credited on the IMDB database, but not so far as I could see on the film itself.

This is despite literally hundreds of credits, stretching practically as far as the guy who collected the cappuccinos each morning.

Every civilisation underrates whatever is changing it from the outside... and ours is no different.

Sunday, November 22, 2020

Vince Reffet

It was Otto Lilienthal who said "Small sacrifices must be made" and he was just one among many throughout the centuries and in diverse places to have sacrificed himself to the cause of truly personal flight. Whilst nobody pursuing such a quest is absolved from any number of sacrifices, it is characteristic of such people as these to diminish the scale of this... its greatest.

Thursday, November 19, 2020


Beside their sizeable investment in Joby Aviation, the maker of the world's best-selling car in the shape of the Corolla ~ Toyota ~ is backing this home-grown development. Good news from my point of view by virtue of the fact it's an octocopter, so that along with the Blackfly it gives the lie to the notion that any more than eight motors are required to assure the safety of electrical flight.

Tuesday, November 17, 2020

Spread My Wings...

... and fly away?

Been a depression blowing through after discovering Friday that the GoFly Challenge is now to be a first across the (on)line affair, for which we're ill-suited in the UK during the lockdown beside the ponderous avenues afforded test-flying by the Civil Aviation Authority.

Nonetheless design of the 'DRONE has been an evolutionary process from the outset, forged by repeated fabrications on my part combined with insights, the best of which seem to occur at three in the morning.

Like this one, for example, which I add to the IP portfolio, as of.

Advantage of which is that two separate yet compact quadcopters might be combined ~ the green at foot-level and the red at waist-height as per the current prototype ~ to create more lift altogether. At the same time, with cantilevers extended to two metres the propellers are pitched at a safer distance altogether from my own tender frame.

It's been a must in terms of sheer lift since I adopted lighter and cheaper motors, while providing for a more substantial leverage to facilitate flight-control.

All lies beyond GoFly's allowable dimensions, but notwithstanding my own love of compactness the team is united in the belief that we need the extra to assure the safety of piloted operations.

Still leaves the current prototype available to the challenge, beside the promotional video that we were endeavouring to address just prior the current confinement due the Covid-19 pandemic.

Nonetheless the working parts will likely be stripped out for re-use in a (fifth) marque as per the outline seen above, pending a decision on re-financing through crowd-funding if not my own billions... of mites.

So while things remain up in the air, there's every chance of staying there.

Sunday, November 15, 2020


I tune in thereto, and fascinating it is too, touching as it does upon drones in general and heavier drones like mine in particular.

Until recently, regulators worldwide had little or no interest in radio-controlled modellers and vice-versa. Then technology got to the point when large models could be built (and which modellers do not want a bigger member... ship?), around the time that multicopters became a nuisance to airline operations.

I've seen both sides in the form of spectacular displays of turbine-engined models on one hand, and a drone not a hundred feet removed from the Airbus I was flying on the other ~ and at an altitude of around eight thousand feet.

What I witnessed at the AGM today from its online host was the convergence of rules once only applied to airline operators increasingly being applied to everyone else with anything that leaves the ground in any shape or form.

It has been suggested that some time in the near future we shall all be monitored at every point in our lives, finally bringing to life the scenario imagined by Orwell as occurring by 1984.

What is increasingly apparent is that in a world of drone-delivery and three-dimensional taxis, that remit will be extended to every form of flying robot out there, which is what all aircraft will be once humans are removed from the equation (except as passengers).

With their social links and those between 'man-and-machine' I feel radio-control modellers may be going the way of the dinosaurs.

Friday, November 13, 2020

Gone Fly?


This arrived Thursday but I didn’t get around to reviewing prior today.

In brief, what GoFly are saying is “First to send us a video of yourselves flying around for 20 minutes in a vehicle that fits in a 2.60 metre bubble ~ and if we observe same on a given date ~ then the $million’s yours.’

This leaves us looking like Macmillan on the day Hitler told him they’d built a Luftwaffe and he was on the end of it…

And having read eVTOL news this week ~ site currently crashed coincidentally or not ~  Dragonair seem good to go.

Reasons being:

(a) they’ve Part 103 approval from the FAA and are free to fly any time

(b) we’ve no equivalent and a CAA deemed unsuited to purpose by the AAIB

(c) …who allow NO radio-control tests beside a snail-paced Experimental category

(d) the weather in Florida is ideal for flying, and shit as ever in the north of England

(e) they’ve a do-able drive to wherever GoFly decide the observation will take place

(f) we’ve the Atlantic to cross

(g) they’ve the required batteries

(h) we don’t and the extra weight would require a motor upgrade to those they use.

None of which is to begrudge their efforts, as I’ve always considered Dragonair a front-runner since seeing the footage, the team and the prototype in action.

Whether it’s a vehicle for everyone however is a moot point ~ Mariah being the only one to take to it like a duck to water, having taught people to fly water-jet packs.

Am also aware that luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity!

My immediate question would be (and I’ve copied in GoFly) whether the observation would take place in the US, which would likely be the final nail in our coffin.

Having said all that, it’s been a blast, the build experience has steered us toward saleable product, and of course the organiser (herself) retains an interest in the company.

Great shame not to be able to meet up with them all again though, so as ever it's about appreciating whatever each day brings… and with sincere thanks for your support.

Colin S. Hilton

Teledrone Ltd.

In response to new GoFly rules that are like standing at a trackside, firing a gun and declaring the race on no matter how far they've all got... I've placed my bets already on Team Dragonair!

Thursday, November 12, 2020

(Well) Grounded?

Stepping away from the vehicle from time to time does wonders, and in the wake of the abortive field-test of the TELEDRONE on the eve of lockdown I repair to Istanbul to lick my wounds.

The project needs monetising at some stage, and sooner rather than later. The conventional path for jet-pack developers (and more recently those developing electrical UAM solutions in the US) is to leverage prototypes by pitching them for race series, or providing instruction, or appearing at events.

Our former team-member Martin Andrews once spoke to the originator of Gravity's jet-pack, who was struggling for realistic applications at the time. No longer, however. He's frequently in the news storming naval ships or 'rescuing' mountaineers when he's not providing entertainment at Facebook jamborees... and that's when he's not providing tethered flights to acolytes at £5000 a pop.

Ditto the Artist latterly known as 'Jetman'.

In terms of regulating the 'DRONE as it stands, for a personal flyer, it's a practical impossibility in either the UK or Europe, which are geared to multi-million dollar developments... which quite suits. The UK CAA for example rarely if ever prosecutes airlines ~ not least due their refusal to refund flights cancelled due pandemic ~ for the simple reason once again that money talks.

In conclusion, whilst I could pursue a manned test-program under Experimental classification this side of the Atlantic, one is tempted to ask what would be the point? Subsequent to one such tile-limited program, thereafter the type would have to be certified at a cost of a large fraction of a billion dollars. No wonder then that all they can produce from within their UK government grant-funded Innovation Hub by way of example is a multi-million dollar German company in the form of Volocopter.

Reminds of the comedian who said the Germans build the best executive cars, the French build the best family cars, and the British build the best Japanese cars.

Meanwhile my efforts to obtain approval to test-fly the prototype as a radio-controlled model via the Large Model Association is stymied by the fact that the AAIB (UK Air Accident Investigation Bureau) have effectively put the CAA on the naughty-step following their mis-management of events leading to the (repeated) crashing of Airspeeder's prototype at a public-event. Which was okay for them, in view of the fact they were flying home to Australia next day having shat on our door-step instead.

Accordingly the only feasible product I can envisage selling on home turf is a hovercraft, defined by Google amongst others as 'a vehicle or craft that travels over land or water on a cushion of air provided by a downward blast'.

I never did get a reply from the CAA to my open letter regarding:

... but there's not doubt they did eschew responsibility for 'air' craft operating below a height of ten feet many years ago.

In fact I recently queried a vacancy at Hovertravel's ferry service between Portsmouth and the Isle of Wight in the UK... the last such in Western Europe, apparently. They used to use pilots certified by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), whereas now they use? Master mariners, who are officially steering 'vessels.' 

As a consequence of all which I draft that outline seen above on a shopping pad (recalling that similar sketches have actually turned into flying machines).

It shares the same platform as every previous prototype, the original design being wholly flexible in the way, say, Land Rovers and Jaguars share a common chassis (or Renaults and Nissans).

May be mileage yet in this flying carpet.