Thursday, September 30, 2021

Inverted Snobbery?

Has to be my most utilitarian design yet, here inverted ready for fitment of motors. Ultimately the underside is where I'd like the electronics fitted, what with critical aerials being fitted to the underside of airliners and the bulk of their electronics under the flight-deck.

Curiously the three dozen boards controlling an Airbus are located under the flight-deck too. There's open access to this space alongside the rudder pedals, to the extent it is protected by a canvas awning that has occasionally to be removed along with the accumulated detritus: half-eaten pies, rotting fruit, water bottles, used condoms et al.

Re-reading yesterday's post I realise I'd not fully explained the regulatory issue regards test-flying? In the UK the simplest option is to limit its weight to under 25kg so that it qualifies as a regular drone. This entails fitting only four motors and I have done so to the underside to increase ground-effect, improve safety and keep the propellers from harm's way when out of use.

(N.B. if you're stupid enough to build large drones too, note that ground-effect cannot always be relied on to increase lift, sometimes producing air circulation which actually reduces available lift.)

Ultimately then I'll offer this classic 4 x 4, along with a 4 x 8 upgrade for higher-flyers.

Wednesday, September 29, 2021

Having an (Eight) Ball

I added an upper deck of identical outline yesterday upon which to pitch a chair well clear of the propeller arcs, and it looked like a dog, and so we're committed to a single deck like the bus I used to take to school. The chair I shall raise independently, but we shall come to that.

It left me depressed meanwhile to the extent I went to bed at nine and got up at nine. Forgave myself knowing the engineer who built the canal for the Duke of Bridgewater and kicked off the Industrial Revolution spent three days in bed prior to agreeing to the commission.

Nonetheless the raison d'ĂȘtre for extending the footprint by around 25% was so eight motors and propellers could be accommodated in tried-and-tested X-8 configuration. In order to qualify as a regular drone able to be flight-tested at will in the UK though, it needs remain below 55lb or 25kg... the alternative being the Large Model Association concession that runs to 150kg but attracts altogether more oversight.

To prove the point I shall mount the motors underslung, so that it's clear to the casual observer that it might support eight power units as easily as four. And the reason for those stubs extended from the undercarriage legs? Means the vehicle can be inverted in order to assist with fitting those motors, or removing the skids for transport.

Tuesday, September 28, 2021

Lower Deck, or 'Steerage'

As with life there are mistakes there that I regret,  but it's come together nicely and in fact I could build these in my sleep nowadays and probably do. Weighing in at sixteen pounds, which is very respectable given previous iterations, it's now ready to be rigged with motors and ESCs. It's upped in size to 50" square, primarily so the propellers can be pitched under-floor and away from harm.

I learned to fly in a Scottish Aviation Bulldog, and during running changes the canopy would be slid back as one cadet exited the aircraft via the wing and the other slid into place... all the while subject to the draught from an idling 200HP Lycoming engine and a constant-speed propeller. Which was enough to convince you of their lethality. And these electrical motors and props are just as convincing in that department, seeing them flight-tested at close quarters.

Monday, September 27, 2021

Ground (Effect) Zero

Once more unto the beach, dear friends, once more? Refuse to walk away from three years work and nothing to show, as this has to the basis for a utilitarian ground-effect vehicle if nothing else. The commercial market, making no bones about it, is currently geared toward the imperatives of moving people around the urban landscape in flying taxis; though I don't discount the viability of a single-seat machine if the price-point is got right. For with every product ~ whether flat-screen TV, motor-car or mobile phone ~ a tipping point when it flips from luxury to common ownership. 

 "If you have built castles in the air... put the foundations under them."
Henry David Thoreau

Friday, September 24, 2021

Word War II

Heavily backed by the UK's government as a part of its policy of investing only in those companies that least need it, Rolls Royce's aeroplane intended to break the electrical speed record takes to the skies on the eighty-first anniversary of the Battle of Britain.

Which is ironic, seeing how this American-designed aeroplane uses a motor ~ albeit developed in Oxford ~ belonging to Mercedes-Benz.

Whose engines were pitted against ones designed by Rolls-Royce during the Battle of Britain.

So with UK taxpayers funding German companies beside buying their cars, who won?

Thursday, September 23, 2021

Easy Jot

People are generally bemused at my consistent use of stock tube connectors for the building of large multicopter airframes, but this is an example on a new Airbus of their readiness and suitability on certified components... in this case the passenger seating.

Passenger seating itself is largely overlooked by the travelling public, but there's a lot that goes into it. Each seat has to be light yet comfortable, and particularly resistant to breaking loose in the event of a severe deceleration. Or crash, to you and me. That's why there's a dog-leg in that rear support.

Alloy tubing and plastic connectors feature in the restraint beneath all three seats in a row, and has therefore to withstand the weight of all three passengers resting their heels upon it. The part used once to require casting or bending with the aid of skilled labour and bespoke machinery, and now (like my drones) it doesn't... yet still works.

And though literally beneath consideration, the part is integral to the carrier's policy toward carry-ons: free for bags under the seat, fee for larger in the overhead stowage.  

Saturday, September 11, 2021


That's Richard Browning, inventor of the jet-suit and founder of Gravity Industries, and from the book. Caught on the horns of a dilemma, for age fifteen he lost his father to suicide; his father having run out of road developing an invention of his own, for which he'd given up his day-job as an aeronautical engineer. I can identify with each, success with any idea being a roll of the dice.

Browning said he'd most often been asked "What for?" by people after revealing he'd made an 'Iron Man' flying machine. But in truth, it's the question that's asked of every advance that humanity ever makes. As a stand-up comic in London once said, you can be sure when we started cooking meat that people would have said, "What... cold food not good enough for you?".

Monday, September 6, 2021

Warts and All

Posted most of the video content accumulated over many months on the channel at:

It'll either 'encourager les autres' or put them off trying altogether...

Saturday, September 4, 2021

Web Sight

Re-hashed the website around the intended proof-of-concept, which itself represents a welcome return to the project's roots. Clearing your browser's history has combined advantages in that beside erasing all record of your visits to the nether ~ besides that held on permanent file at GCHQ ~ it keeps you up to date with the author's efforts at death by self-defenestration:

Friday, September 3, 2021

Picture Post

Limited in what I can do here, but after yesterday's excitement it's nice to turn to less contentious matters, isn't it? Here's my take on how the middle of the airframe is set to look, and tailored to my own proportions. Like building your own coffin for standing up in, and it's doing these things makes you realise why they're the shape they are.

Thursday, September 2, 2021

Uncivil Matters

Redacted to protect the innocent, correspondence arriving via notification in the form of email, which advises me to open an online case file relating to Universal Credit (not sufficiently universal however to stretch to correspondence abroad).

With my legal hat on, I would query the lack of date... something every child is taught to begin a letter with whilst at primary school (beside the punctuation in the opening line). Interestingly though it's digital communication so as to reduce headcount, which in turn increased the potential for fraud, the parlay is somewhat one-way. The journal itself that comprise the case file is closed for communication, as are email and text message.

There is the opportunity to phone (by yesterday's deadline), or to post a letter within the UK, a place that has effectively closed to its own citizens who find themselves in a proscribed country on its pandemic 'red-list'. Alternatively there is the facility to make a conventional international phone call, cost of which they won't be refunding.

They are however in error, and despite the threats and insinuations I am altogether in a position to defend myself in court. The last (and only) time I had reason to a query a decision of this kind involved a tribunal at a court in Liverpool on a date when I was otherwise disposed: having flown from there to Tokyo at my expense in pursuit of a job. Naturally on the occasion I lost the case, but bear in mind you and I are paying for these people in wigs to sit in judgement upon farce of this kind.

Although most people are intimidated by court surroundings, I'd relish the chance to expose the theatre of the absurd that is a DWP fashioned in public schoolboys' image, not least that of Dominic Cummings (one time adviser to fellow public schoolboys in the shape of the PM and Michael Gove). On the few days I was sick from school, I'd sit in bed watching episodes of Crown Court and hoping one day to be a barrister.

I never got to those Inns of Court, but I have won the only two cases I've been involved with, beside supplying witness testimony against a couple of repeat offenders I'd seen walk away from a building site with a power tool. Had I known the foreman couldn't give a fuck either, however, I wish I hadn't bothered. Actually I don't, it being an education in itself.

Plus a mess ~ read Fake Law by the anonymous barrister in London. The one thing that amazed me beside the realisation that the CPS were effectively failed lawyers, was how the people you were about to accuse in court on behalf of the prosecution were sat there opposite me in the ante-room. Not like I'd been raped even, but merely suffered damage to my Vauxhall Cavalier.

The case file as I peruse it is peppered with procedural and factual errors, and I look forward to donning my own powdered wig and entering court with a flourish and one of ethos rolled up folios with a red ribbon. I'm disputatious, contentious, floating like a butterfly around the dock and stinging like a witty bee.

And you're all invited. I shall bring the drone as exhibit Number One and upon which I have spent £18,000 in the last year alone, and sit back twiddling that silly black tie as those arraigning me endeavour to prove that I'm a n'ere-do-well without any intention in life beside defrauding HM government... as if the banks themselves and politicians were incapable.

News this same day that Afghans fleeing the monumental fuck-up the establishment made of that country (and any other not aligned with our morally-superior beliefs and lifestyles) are entitled to welfare. Born in the UK and married ten years to a Turk, ironic that she is not entitled to any form of welfare whilst the pittance afforded me they hope to reclaim.

All claimants though must use my approved communication means of communication.

Carrier pigeon.

Wednesday, September 1, 2021

This Time Next Year, Rod...

Before my wings were clipped by the 2.60 metre dimension set by the GoFly challenge rules, there was no hell below us and above us only drones. And we'll be revisiting this one in the new-build. Having established the layout of the lower end, we've now to build upward as we reach for the sky.

This little chap, Rod, is a metre tall and one thing I discovered just over two years ago when this was taken was that with columns passed through a flight-control 'console', the box containing the operator can be reduced in height to around the 16" mark too.

Those are 5mm threaded rods as I recall, and over twenty kilos up top... not a weight they would have supported without a brace of this sort. The device slides, too, but so what? Well since then I've looked at quite how to squeeze myself in from every angle, and lower limbs being smaller in outline than my waist, we can reduce the footprint of the centre-section of the base to suit.

The box at foot-level will therefore fulfil three principal functions: it will protect the shins from blade-strike, root the superstructure and remind people that one day, a phone-box might yet fly.