Saturday, October 5, 2019

All Square?

Two innovations in one here that advance the cause.

I've always been troubled by the fact that cutting a  sizeable aperture in the retaining plates of the upper quadcopter with which to accommodate my torso has been a significant waste of material, whether foam infill or alloy plate.

I mock up the alternative here in ply, to see if there's a solution and it seems that there is.

The central void here is sufficient to accommodate me ~ in which event the arms of the quad can be fixed to either its inside or outside perimeter.

At the same time the portion removed from its centre can be used as a base for the 'phone-booth' or flight compartment.

At the same time it also means that the upper quadcopter can be slid up the sides of the same flight-compartment into position at waist-height.

This allows for the frame to remain decidedly compact, while at the same time allowing a suitable means of ingress and egress.

Dimensions pictured are 500mm and 300mm square respectively.

All will become clear sooner rather than later...

Thursday, October 3, 2019


Invariably bespoke battery-packs are required for these eVTOL vehicles, which ups the cost considerably when it comes to one-offs like prototypes. The eng has therefore suggested we adapt packs that have been sourced from scrapped Mitsubishi Outlander hybrids.

This is an inspired solution for preliminary testing, because those vehicles that are scrapped have generally not been so for reasons connected to their perfectly serviceable battery-packs, but because they've collided with a tree or another car.

In a way then, we're making hogs fly.

Thursday, September 26, 2019

Under Construction

I relaunch the website at with a timeline showing the original concept, based as it was on the 'K8' shown here, and its evolution toward a shape that could be used to compete in the GoFly challenge.

As the competition's October 1st make-or-break date approaches we're getting there, slowly.

Monday, September 16, 2019

Post M'drone

Unseasonably warm after an inclement summer, so we're making hay while the sun shines.

The GoFly challenge asked for an official team photo and while we're not all there, those currently engaged are (in the shape of self and flight-engineer).

Whilst flying airliners in Cambodia I had outlined a 'flying phone-box' optimised for eVTOL.

Exceeding the GoFly dimensions at full scale however it was re-designed as a hollowed-out drone that was 'worn' around the waist.

The proximity of propeller blades and loads sustained by the operator were unlikely to meet safety criteria though unless an airframe was retained to re-arrange motors at a lower level.

This re-introduced the original concept whilst still retaining the compact foot-print achieved by fixing one drone around the operator.

Our next step is to get it airborne under the weight of batteries alone.

Onward and upward!

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Drone or Phone?

There's nothing I can see in the guidelines for this competition that says anything about open rotors and their potential effect on either operator or bystanders and as we pointed out to Gwen last Friday, aeroplanes have used unguarded propellers since Leonardo and while many people have been killed by inadvertent contact with them, they still pass muster with every aviation authority in the world.

Useful parallels are cars, knives or (especially if you're American), guns. The first kill more people worldwide than any other means, followed by knives in places like London or guns in the USA. Nobody suggests doing away with them however because their utility outweighs the risks. But they were all introduced centuries ago and in a more litigious age products must be bullet-proof from the outset.

This has the interesting side-effect of steering people into dangerous pastimes like climbing high-rises without ropes, or launching themselves in wing-suits. We're here to build though and not philosophise, and I agree to the casual observer our wearable drones look like the sort of props magicians use to cut their assistants in half.

I have therefore decided to split the component drones again and mount one at the base and the other around the midriff. They'll be supported by a frame like that originally envisaged for the  'flying phone-box' so that once again the constraints of competition have steered us toward the safe and narrow.

On this note I get on with searching for parts, the pursuit of projects involving the trawl of internet and industrial units as it does. One such ends here where a vital part is described variably as aluminium or steel, which are metallurgically worlds apart, and more expensive the more you buy?

They say the website will be amended to reflect, but you know it never will, because that's life.

Monday, September 9, 2019

London Calling

Together with Pete Day I travelled to London Friday to meet Gwen Lighter, whose baby the GoFly Challenge is.

I forget to take a photo, at least until crossing Waterloo Bridge enroute to the station afterward.

The meeting worthwhile if only from the point of view that as it stands, the prototype in the previous post is unlikely to pass the safety scrutiny... from what I can gather due proximity of propeller blades and pilot.

Additionally, disquiet surrounds said pilot absorbing much of the shock of a heavy landing.

Issues to address as ever, as with life itself.

Seems 838 teams up for the competition but the organisers expect there'll be significant attrition enroute.

Let's hope we're not among the attrited.

(Spellchecker accepts the word, oddly).

Tuesday, August 27, 2019


20 kilos on the spring balance, with the weight of the eight speed-controllers added. At 44 pounds that's around half of my original estimate for the mass of a competition airframe.

With jet-packs and parameters weighing in anywhere between 25 and 30 kilos that leaves us around a further fifty percent or 10 kilos to dedicate to battery-packs.

My guess is that isn't going to get us far, but getting us safely airborne represents first base.

Build it and they will come.