Wednesday, August 12, 2020

Take a Bau, Haus...

German DIY stores are among the most comprehensive, to the extent that here in Istanbul the local Bauhaus once incorporated a mariner's section which retailed outboard motors amongst the chandlery. What it also once had, too, was exhaustive stocks of modelling material in wood. This was understandable given the Germans love of forest and folklore, beside an attention to detail that saw its best expression in model trains, for instance, or the photographic equipment later hijacked by Japanese industry.

Accordingly I could once secure any form of ply and balsa along with innumerable sections and spars... but no more. There are probably three reasons why. The first is the collapse of business consequent upon the coronavirus pandemic, and the second likely the fact that the retail zone had perpetually to be tidied up by the staff so as to reorder each item in the correct pigeonhole.

The principal reason however has to be the fact that modelling in timber is a declining art when such the same can be done on a screen. Nonetheless until recently the way I rendered designs as graphics was to build them at scale, photograph them and send them to a patent illustrator to convert into line drawings (and rendered in colour if necessary).

I have chosen this option given the constrained business circumstances here at the beach house on the Sea of Marmara. There's a lot to be said for building scale models beside, however, for the 'look and feel' of a three-dimensional object can never be recreated wholly on screen. This is why auto-makers still produce full-sized mock-ups to look at, and why Leonardo da Vinci produced at scale first when it came to prototyping. If you're contracted to make siege engines for Florentines then it pays to have portable demos.

Accordingly I shall for old times' sake render the prototype set for the ongoing GoFly challenge at sixth scale, and using what are effectively left-overs from the modelling stock at said DIY store. 

Prepare to be amazed, therefore.

Wednesday, July 29, 2020

Ain't Beaten Yet

Been giving it a deal of thought this past eighteen days and the nub is what we've to offer that's unique to all of these outlines, and it's the fact that they're all some form of container raised by drones above and below.

The problem since the outset has been that the concept of a two-metre booth that I could stand in exceeds the dimensions allowed (by the GoFly challenge) from the tips of the lowest rotors to those of the highest.

Replacing a booth you can stand in with one to support a seated passenger still requires a height of a metre and a half... which also exceeds the allowable dimensions.

The most practical airframe is therefore a version like this measuring just one metre high that I can stand in, and which still bears out the original concept whilst remaining within the permissible guidelines.

Notwithstanding the original drawing, however, I shall use the 'H' layout for each drone that was preferred after our experience in California.

The patent agent appears to have lost interest so I shall be back-pedalling on the IP for the time being at the same time as wishing Martin Andrews goodbye, and good luck.

It was after all just the two of us who got the machine to the USA for the third phase of the competition, and what we've done before we can do again.

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.