Saturday, July 11, 2020

Car Crash

Been a long day, and lessons learned as to how these airframes should be constructed and transported. First up, don't bolt a trailer together without lock-nuts. Second, the rotor arms need to be rather more substantial. And third, those castors have to go.

Tuesday, July 7, 2020


This has been published for some time, but am only recently made aware. We'll not pursue it further but it'll remain there for the record, forming as it does the basis of the current effort. 

That remains a box suspended between a pair of quadcopters, except that it looks now that a box-frame that supports a flying sedan-chair looks altogether more promising for any number of reasons.

Onward and upward...

Wednesday, July 1, 2020

Step Away from the Vehicle

After three and a half months in lockdown I'm in warmer climes, and besides catching up with the Fokkers am wrestling with trying to combine the stringencies of the GoFly rules regarding allowable dimensions with the outlines of a workable commercial flying machine. 

Happily it appears I have the answer, or else one of them at least, and so back to work...

Friday, June 5, 2020


Turns out the tow-bar people fetched the parts for the wrong car ~ again ~ so I'd no choice but to hire a van. And here it is at a service station on the M5, enroute to Somerset where it will be wired up with all eight propellers and, all being well, flown. One of the few benefits of the Covid-19 pandemic is that the roads remain quieter than usual and I cover the 420 miles in around seven hours, including a break in either direction. In my books that's an average of sixty m.p.h. and a tribute to this old Ford.

Wednesday, June 3, 2020

Martyr to the Cause

Turned out my work here wasn't quite done, not least because I do need a reliable means of transporting the latest 2/3rd scale prototype, which is destined to be a 'keeper'. What I mean by this is that, unlike previous iterations, it will be tasked in perpetuity with airshows and exhibitions until such time as it is laid to rest in some or other museum.

It will also be the basis of a crowd-funding campaign, which represents the current phase of development along with pursuit of the appropriate forms of regulation in the UK.

Am pleased with how the tailor-made trailer is progressing, although it does look like the one that did for Spartacus.

Monday, May 18, 2020

My Work Here is Done

I re-abandon the idea of testing the prototype in the absence of the phone-box, and by the end of last week had effectively gone as far as I felt inclined. Without mentioning the Titanic I would compare this stage to that prior to 'fitting out' as it applied to shipbuilding... the moment the hull is launched (or wheeled from the hangar in my case) ready for its luxury superstructure to be applied.

This will take the form here of wiring up the electronic components and programming the associated parameters for flight. As per the launch of a ship, what you see here is equipped with the equivalent of the coal-bunkers and steam-engines, except in the form here of Lipo battery-packs and electric-motors.

I would have liked a pack to address each of the eight motors, but the fact we'd already invested in a pair of seven-cell packs suggested it were better to invest in a further pair to suit the top-end of the vehicle. As the prototype is over-powered in its current form ~ flying only a Mothercare mannekin in lieu of a human being ~ a pair of six-packs would prove to be sufficient.

Despite the lockdown I managed to source these off-the-shelf at Alien Power Systems, a company recommended me by Pete Bitar in the 'States and which proved serendipitously to be only a half-hour drive in the car to collect. Alien is my sort of enterprise, begun a man who arrived from Italy and worked in a restaurant prior to founding a successful operation that does business world-wide.

I also speak to the man who established DJI in the USA (a marriage made in heaven). He advises that with many hundreds of eVTOL efforts abounding on YouTube that it's no longer enough to get some sort of proof-of-concept airborne, but rather to prove that for whatever reason it is proven to be superior flight solution.

I'm confident this is, but that would be like Edmund Hillary saying at base camp that he was confident of climbing Everest. He did so too, but there was much between 'here and there'.

Thursday, May 7, 2020

Flying Bedstead

I re-visit a previous notion (search 'jury rig' here) armed now with the knowledge derived in recent days regards how to put this thing together. The drones now feature brackets around the outside corners of the centre-body with which the passenger booth can be secured with an external set of tie-rods.

The nice thing about transferring the load to the outsides of the structure (as the engineer Peter Rice pioneered with iconic buildings like the Centre Pompidou in Paris or the Lloyds of London headquarters) is that it is flying-friendly and in many ways takes us back to the earliest development of bi-planes, when you'd 'kick a tire and twang a wire' prior to flight.

A by-product of this development so far as the drone is concerned is the the payload can be swapped out for what is effectively a 'spacer' that separates the two drones ready for wiring and subsequent flight-testing.

It therefore references Rolls Royce's own vertical-lift test-bed, with the exception being that the drone here is as yet uninhabited. This I can accede to fairly readily, the original "flying bedstead' having accounted for at least one Wing Commander during flight trials.

The prototype is thus ready for delivery and officially 'ex-Works' as of today, from whence it will be transported upon the roof of the Jimny to the project's electrical engineering facility.