Hiller Flying Plateform Planning, All Ideas Highly Appreciated, Aircraft Noob

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bmcj

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Does lift from the rotor on the bottom benefit from a cushion of air trapped between the disk and ground?
 

BBerson

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Does lift from the rotor on the bottom benefit from a cushion of air trapped between the disk and ground?
All rotors should benefit from ground effect. Unless you real close to the ground where something weird might happen.
 

Aviator2

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2 Cents

I'm sure glad to see that this thread and topic are still interesting, and as SkyClimber said- it really is a cutting edge subject.

One aspect of this particular thread is that the person who originally started it spelled it "plateform", as in "dinner plate" rather than "platform", this makes the thread remarkably easy to find in a search- just enter plateform in any search window and you'll be brought directly to this this thread.

The other, less fortunate thing that it seems that the up and coming FlyingPlatformLLC.com in Placid Lakes, Florida- builder of the future state-of-the-art Hiller-style flying platforms- never did pan out.

Their website is still up and running, but there's been no news for a year- not since their initial "start-up".

And their emails are a little bit sketchy also- usually along the lines of "...just keep waiting please, we'll let you know when the first kits/ platforms are ready for purchase..."

But despite that, and as I have mentioned before, I believe there's a HUGE market out there for the Hiller Style Flying Platform- there are millions of guys- (ladies- I'm not so sure about), but millions of guys, that would LOVE to have the ability of low-level personal flight on a simplified, easy-to-fly machine- and as has been said before- the uses and possibilities are almost endless.

So, whoever gets production started on selling these kits or completed machines first, will have a good market.

Just think- if your company got just ONE order for a flying platform from all 50 states- you'd be back-logged to build 50 COMPLETE MACHINES!! That'd keep any small aircraft manufacturer busy for the foreseeable future. And just think if you got TWO orders from each state...

SkyClimber is also right again- the time is long overdue for somebody to manufacture and sell a simplified, but rugged, low-priced, counter-rotating unit for home-builders. And it had ought to be easily adaptable to various engine and blade configurations.

Aviator2 AKA: Chuck Baltzer

 

Dana

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Re: 2 Cents

But despite that, and as I have mentioned before, I believe there's a HUGE market out there for the Hiller Style Flying Platform- there are millions of guys- (ladies- I'm not so sure about), but millions of guys, that would LOVE to have the ability of low-level personal flight on a simplified, easy-to-fly machine- and as has been said before- the uses and possibilities are almost endless.
Until those millions of guys see the price tag, and the performance [limitations] and consider the implications of an engine failure...

Dana
 

Aviator2

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Until...the price tag...performance [limitations] & implications of engine failure...

“If you are looking for perfect safety, you will do well to sit on a fence and watch the birds...”
— Wilbur Wright, 18 September, 1901


Aviator2 AKA Chuck Baltzer

 

Aviator2

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Re: 2 Cents

Until those millions of guys see the price tag, and the performance [limitations] and consider the implications of an engine failure...

Dana
All kidding aside (about Wilber Wright saying to sit on fences, and the like), if we are to look at this from a purely pragmatic point of view, then Dana is, from his standpoint- correct:

1) The price tag; There's no getting around the fact that this, or any aircraft is going to end up being pricey- as we all know, it's the nature of the beast- flying is, to an extent, a rich man's game. (Maybe an order for an aircraft from every other state- totaling 25 orders would've been more realistic- but still a pretty good payday).

2) Performance Limitations; It (the Hiller Flying Platform) never was intended to do what an airplane or helicopter does- not even the Army intended that- it was intended to get soldiers to be able to skim effortlessly over the battle field, marshes, swamps and other impassable or difficult to traverse terrain. In other words- low level, ground-hugging "flight". Would this live up to the civilian customer's expectations? What ARE his expectations? If he'd like, for example, to be able to go mountain hiking- over the un-hiked and un-hikable side of the mountain- without even having to exert any effort- then this might be the equipment he's been seeking. The question isn't so much "performance limitations", as "what ISN'T a limitation for you?"

3) Possibility of Engine Failure; In post number 32 of this thread, I explained my take on how I imagined an engine failure would probably end up in this type of craft- that is, with any amount of altitude and speed- it wouldn't end well. It's the same with the Hiller Flying Platform as with the jet or rocket pack- there is no solution for what is known as "flight degradation", that is, loss of lift due to, usually, engine failure. As I've explained in previous posts, it's all about having trustworthy equipment, trusting your equipment (as in instrument flight), what risks you're willing to accept, and whether you're willing to accept the aforementioned limitations- a few feet off the ground- slow forward speeds etc. etc.

So, Dana is correct- the masses probably wouldn't accept the limitations, OR the perceived dangers.

But, on the other hand, there's that fraction of a percentage of the population that craves "personal" flight, and sees the limitations and risks of the Hiller Style Flying Platform as minimal- or at least acceptable - and they'd be ready to fly today... if they could get their hands on one.

Maybe my sales predictions are overly optimistic, but there no doubt exists at least some market out there for this craft.

And so, I believe Dana and myself are both correct, in differing ways of looking at the feasibility of homebuilders owning, building, purchasing and flying the Hiller Flying Platform.


---------------------------------Aviator2 AKA Chuck Baltzer

“If you are looking for perfect safety, you will do well to sit on a fence and watch the birds...”
— Wilbur Wright, 18 September, 1901
 
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Dana

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Most of the "millions", certainly, will choose to sit on the fence and watch. These are the people who think I'm certifiably insane for flying a powered paraglider when in reality it's less dangerous than riding a motorcycle in traffic which most people think is rational and I think is nuts. For the rest, the aircraft being offered (flying platform, jet pack, whatever) has to offer something different and be more attractive than all the other options (airplanes, helicopters, hang gliders, powered paragliders, whatever).

But yes, there will be some who will want it, if the price is right. So why isn't anybody offering one? I suspect the answer is that it's not as easy/simple as it looks.

Kind of like a Segway... most people would love to try one out for a few minutes, but few are willing to shell out the $8000 it costs to buy one.

Dana
 

BBerson

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Re: Safety Issues: SOLVED

The multi-copter (four or more) makes more sense. How many scale model RC Hiller platforms are around?

The multi-copter doesn't need a shroud or coaxial complication. With 8 or 16 the safety of one failure should be controllable. A coaxial is never as efficient as independent rotors. It's about disc area. And the multicopter has no tail rotor loss.
Figure how to attach a multicopter to an airplane and you have the ultimate VTOL.
 

Aviator2

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Re: Safety Issues: SOLVED

The multi-copter (four or more) makes more sense. How many scale model RC Hiller platforms are around?

The multi-copter doesn't need a shroud or coaxial complication. With 8 or 16 the safety of one failure should be controllable. A coaxial is never as efficient as independent rotors. It's about disc area. And the multicopter has no tail rotor loss.
Figure how to attach a multicopter to an airplane and you have the ultimate VTOL.
I’d like to comment on that aspect (ie; using an ordinary aircraft in place of the Hiller Platform).

What exactly is the rationale for using a Hiller Platform in place of just an aircraft, such as, let’s say, a RotorWay Exec helicopter, Mosquito Ultralight, etc.?

First, let us realize that the Hiller Platform isn’t exactly an “aircraft” as such. It’s most definitely a hybrid of a hovercraft and an aircraft. And therein lies most of the confusion about why a person would want a Hiller Platform.

What can a Hiller Platform do that a helicopter or an airplane can’t? What are its advantages?

For one, the short, 5 foot, airplane-like propellers that a Hiller Platform uses are not a disadvantage- they are shrouded, and the platform is able, to a certain extent, to blunder into, and through, leaves, branches and bushes. And the propeller’s small size lets the craft traverse up narrow passageways, like unimproved roadways.

Would you want to fly any type of conventional aircraft up a “woods-road”? This is the type of tree lined, dirt road that has an overhead canopy of tree branches. I would never want to attempt that in a Robinson R22, and an airplane- you can imagine what that would be like.

The Hiller Platform is right at home zipping up an unimproved woods-road, and is ready to zip off the road and over a field or marsh when the pilot comes to one.

So, can you see what I mean about the differences, and advantages, of the Hiller Platform over conventional aircraft in respect to the Hiller being more of a hovercraft hybrid, than an aircraft?

It’s confusing to be sure, because the Hiller Platform is not a hovercraft in the true sense, but not something you’d want to use for a conventional type of flying either.

If the Hiller Platform were to be considered a type of hovercraft, it would beat the heck out of conventional hovercraft- being able to easily hop over obstacles, hover several feet above the ground, and can operate over any type of terrain- not just smooth fields and water. (It also beats the WIG- Wing In Ground effect hovercraft, that can only gain a few feet of altitude when flying at high forward speed like an airplane).

So, if just pure, conventional aircraft flight is what you’re seeking, then the multi-copter, Robinson R22, or airplane etc. is surely the right choice.

But if you love to hover at ground level, wing up woods-roads, float over fields and meadows, buzz up the sides of mountains, skim over marshes, then what better way than the Hiller Platform?

Aviator2 AKA Chuck Baltzer

 

BBerson

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Re: We need a low cost contra-rotating alternative!

So your point is a platform is slightly more useful than a hovercraft. Neither is useful for climbing vertically from my front yard field. The hovercraft can't. The platform can climb vertical but is a high risk because any part fails and the result is death.
The multicopter (with 8-16 rotors) could handle a single rotor failure. If it has 16 seperate motor/rotors, redundancy is provided in combination with low disc loading for a decent payload and low noise.

A small disc needs high disc loading. The high disc loading kicks up sand, pebbles etc, is noisy, and suck branches into the top if touched. I have no need to venture into bushes.

A multicopter is inefficient in forward flight. If it converts to an airplane, the forward flying is somewhat more efficient.
But also the airplane provides an extra layer of safety in operations. Such as:

The final approach, in airplane mode, would be as safe as any airplane. If the engine quits the pilot can always glide in.
The addition of the multicopter allows the pilot to approach a rough area not possible in an airplane. So this hybrid pilot can approach a beach with 2foot boulders. He can't land in airplane mode, but he can now come to a 10' hover over the boulders and maneuver around to any clear spot for touchdown. So if the vertical lift system failed when the pilot needs it at 10 feet, the craft will fall. But only 10 feet while in the normal glide. He would hit the boulders. But this should be surviveable, compared with falling from 300 feet. (Typical dead man zone)

I see in my model magazine. At least two have done this in model form.
 

Aviator2

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Re: We need a low cost contra-rotating alternative!

...A small disc needs high disc loading. The high disc loading kicks up sand, pebbles etc, is noisy, and suck branches into the top if touched. I have no need to venture into bushes...
I was afraid that the way that I worded that (about bushes, branches etc.) might have been over-stated, that is- not taken exactly as I meant it. What I really meant was that, in the somewhat extreme (and ostensibly- rare) case of venturing just a bit too close to leaves or a branch, the propeller is shielded by the shroud.

Getting close enough to any vegetation so as to allow it to get suctioned into the down-wash- and inevitably through the propellers would be completely unacceptable.

So, you're completely right- there's no need to venture into any bushes with a flying platform, or any type of aircraft.

Is the point just that the Flying Platform is just a slightly more useful than a hovercraft? That is basically the main point, except that in it's own way the platform is MUCH more utilitarian than a hovercraft (think of where a flying platform can go that a hovercraft can't!)

And there are things a hovercraft can do that a platform can't- like have sit-down positions, carry a payload, etc.

Seems that the flying platform is in a category of it's own.


Aviator2 AKA Chuck Baltzer
 

BBerson

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There is a small nitch for a rotorcraft that stays and cruises in ground effect for safety. I was working on this back in 2005 but switched to ultralight fixed wing. Might get back to rotorcraft someday.
But instead of shrouded platform, I was more interested in designing a ground effect helicopter that would fly at ten feet above the ground or sea. The reason for ground effect limitation was because I don't trust my helicopter design ability. (I don't really trust even certificated helicopters)
It would not have used weight shift, but rather cyclic and collective control. However, the recent multicopter explosion is interesting and they use simple fixed pitch. Might be the best way to go. I am looking at different options for controlling 8-16 model airplane or lawn mower engines.
 

Aviator2

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And I believe that small niche (for an IGE rotorcraft) would grow ever larger, if the machines/ kits were available- and at least affordable.

I always trusted the good old R22, while I was flying it- but I was well aware of it's complexity- a semi-rigid helicopter rotor-head is definitely not an amateur project- let alone the rest of the machinery that runs it.

But besides that, I was wondering what AutoReply, in post # 70, above, meant when he said: "Use a tip-driven (turbojet) prop and you've solved most of the issues..."

Was he referring to the Flying Platform, or or something else, or was his meaning simply lost in translation? It might be interesting to know what idea(s) he might have had that nobody has thought of yet.


--------------Aviator2 AKA Chuck Baltzer
 

BBerson

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I can't speak for Autoreply, of course. But my thoughts are the turbojet tip jet was tried by Howard Hughes with a 100+ foot rotor that turned slowly.
A tip ramjet however, like the Hiller Hornet has no rotational bearing loads to contend with. But a rotating turbojet does. Might work on a big , slow rotor. But I can't see a turbojet reversing it's orientation 400 times a minute and surviving.
 

bmcj

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Forgive me if this has already been posted...

[video=youtube;qvxfo5oGaPA]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qvxfo5oGaPA[/video]
Notice the first thing that happens when the props start up? The camera man backs way off!

Then too, there's this little gem:

[video=youtube;bOVh-vlUius]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bOVh-vlUius[/video]
 
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BBerson

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Re: Until...the price tag...performance [limitations] & implications of engine failur

I think that second video was a Williams jet engine venture (for military).
 
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