Monday, August 31, 2020

Livin' It Large

Well what did you do with your August Bank Holiday?

I've gone for larger dimensions at the outset with this prototype as it's the only surefire way in the absence of a three-dimensional virtual 'holodeck' of figuring out what goes where. I can probably afford to trim it from hereon in and the jury's out on which way faces forward, multi-rotors like these being inherently omnidirectional. Much like taking a punt on a horse at this stage of the game.

Friday, August 28, 2020


I do something I've not done previously and perhaps should have, which is to weigh the raw materials by way of a forecast, and this baby tips the scales (once the balance settled down) at 106 pounds, or around 48 kilos. This is heavier than I hoped, but at the same time I have elected for an 18-inch square flight compartment as against a 16-inch. Effectively too, this is what the airline industry call an APS weight, or 'Aircraft Prepared for Service' in so far as it has about everything you need except the flight control box, including the landing skids.

This is just two-thirds of my own weight, and I figure if I used carbon-fibre then this could be reduced to half. As it is the airframe weighs around the same as a powered paraglider (albeit not the very newest and very lightest), which makes it as light and compact as could be hoped for once assembled to the latest design. Whether there'll be sufficient thrust ~ and beyond that control ~ to levitate me remains to be seen.

For there's a long way 'twixt here and there.

Wednesday, August 26, 2020

Cutting Metal

Shan't do the cutting myself so far as possible this time as I want a more accurate joint than is achievable with a hand-tool, and am lucky there's an engineering workshop just a mile away of the sort that are invaluable on the one hand, and rapidly disappearing on the other.

So it's out with the old today in the form of team-member Martin Andrews whom I have advised in writing as of now, and in with the new in the shape of the third flying prototype.

Third time lucky?

Tuesday, August 25, 2020

Para Shoot

First time in four decades frankly that I've flown (and more generally been flown) in anything without a motor, and a blend of awe and terror. Does though provide an inkling of how things will look from atop the drone I'm set to rebuild, and confirmation of the many potential markets for electrical flight... like hauling paragliders and pilots back up the ridge in place of a Land Rover. News this week that Amazon have patented a drone for hauling snow-skiers, a market identified by ourselves in our quest to haul ass by motorised means.

Sunday, August 16, 2020

Skid Row

Skid fitment has bugged me for a while but this is the value of modelling, and in view of the fact that the aircraft and inhabitant is unidirectional it can fly in alignment with any of its faces. It therefore only has to be pointing in one particular direction for landing, in order to align the undercarriage. With a set of castors it need not even do that. This however looks the better way in the longer term of mounting skids... by bolting spars to the ends of the lowermost rotor-arms. 

Along with the patented 'stop-prop' means of aligning the blades in the same direction in order to protection, the combination represents a workable solution. And workable solutions ~ one of them here, one of them there ~ eventually build an air vehicle. With the extent of recent practise under my belt too, this won't take at all long to scale beyond the one in six seen here.

Black square represents a hole, incidentally... the perfect ever being the enemy of the good.

Saturday, August 15, 2020

New model, Ah me...

Can't help but be impressed considering the fact it was made out of leftovers, to the extent those square-section spars were split from a rectangular. Needs a dab of paint but you get the picture: about the smallest and lightest conceivable design of helicopter able to levitate a human being on the one hand and be mass-produced on the other, and largely in flat-pack form.

Measured between the axis of each motor it is just four foot long by three wide, with drone centre sections just sixteen inches wide along with a box of the same dimensions square and only one metre in height (or around forty inches all in).

Shall spray it up in post-box red and use the same outline for the website, pending its fabrication at full scale. About as versatile an aircraft as could be conceived, to the extent it can be flown in reference to either direction (at a ninety degree offset), and is adaptable to a range of different sizes of accommodation.

These are broadly of one metre height for a "semi" like this, two metres for total incorporation of a standing operator, or around a metre and a half for a seated.

Strong, light, practical, inexpensive... and two inches inside the spherical dimension afforded by the GoFly challenge.

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.