Someone finally built a manned "drone" and its worse than anyone expected

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radfordc

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So what can be done to improve performance and safety? Because we all know this is unsafe and someone is going to get killed.
So you think these are unsafe.....unlike homebuilt airplanes.

Has there ever been an accident of a man carrying multi-rotor vehicle that resulted in injury? I would think the first choice would be a ballistic parachute.
 

radfordc

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Im sure some of you already saw this article in the dailymail about a manned drone. Its 217hp and only goes 87mph. It makes an R-22 look like a Mooney Ovation.
We all bemoan how poorly the popular media reports on aviation news, yet you accept the Daily Mail as an authoritative source? Given that there's only been a couple of test flights do we know the performance potential of this particular craft? Does an R22 or Mooney Ovation do backflips?
 

Aerowerx

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Do they show the pilot climbing in and taking off, with no breaks in the camera view?

How do you know that was a real person in the thing, and not a crash test dummy?

[Edit] The answer to my question is in the second video. That is a crash test dummy. Note that they are holding RC transmitter! Two of them. One for the "drone" and another for the (real) drone with the camera.
 

akwrencher

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He is not a pilot, the drone is actually a drone, piloted remotely, and carrying a passenger, according to the article.
 

Doggzilla

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We all bemoan how poorly the popular media reports on aviation news, yet you accept the Daily Mail as an authoritative source? Given that there's only been a couple of test flights do we know the performance potential of this particular craft? Does an R22 or Mooney Ovation do backflips?
Dont get me wrong, Im not saying its impossible, just that it needs to be improved.

The specs are from the designer. And the backflips/rolling over during engine loss are the issue. Cant deploy a parachute if you are rolling or simply plummeting upside down.

I think the only way to make it safe would be to push it up to 300hp and then seperate the drive systems into triplex, with opposing motors being linked. The additional weight of the motors and slightly longer blades should not even be 50lbs, which would mean with the loss of a motor (and its opposite to keep balance) it would still have 200hp, which is enough for level flight.

If they pushed it up to 400hp then it could add a motorcycle or rotary engine with genset, and still be able to maintain level flight with loss of a pair of engines.

Adding strut fairings that act like little free wings would also greatly improve level flight efficiency, as even freeing up a few dozen pounds of lift frees up that lift to be used as forward thrust instead. See the jetpack thread to see what adding lifting surfaces does to VTOL aircraft. Huge improvement in forward speed.
 

Aviacs

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Article states that drone is remotely controlled.
No indication that package/person/passenger can "pilot" it from inside.
Though potentially, they could carry a transmitter/controller with themselves?

smt
 

TFF

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They were not hiding that they were controlling it from the ground. Controlled from the inside or from the ground is semantics because having a computer do it is easy once the stability is in hand. They also flew it from a country that has no issues on drone operations.
 

gtae07

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Performance wise, 87mph with 217hp is about as efficient as the largest microturbines. Its extremely poor performance.
You're suffering in efficiency like any other rotary-winged aircraft, because your propulsion is also directly providing the lift. It's slightly worse in this case because of the multirotor setup (it's less efficient than a large single rotor).

That said (and as we've discussed many times before) the loss in aerodynamic efficiency is made up for in lower moving parts count, much simpler mechanical systems, and (possibly) lower weight, and you get it in a control system that is well-understood and relatively easy to manage, if absolutely reliant on electronics.

That's why multirotor designs are so common and popular for small UAS and they're looking at it for small manned aircraft--they're a whole lot simpler than traditional helicopters with all the linkages, swashplates, etc. In an electrically-powered multicopter your adjustable passenger seat might have as many moving parts as the entire propulsion system.


Remember, we're not talking about matured, optimized designs ready for commercial service (yet). We're talking about proof-of-concept aircraft, prototypes, etc. They might be hyped up by their creators or media types as being more than that, but that's where we are--the experimental demonstrator, not the certification test bird.
 

BBerson

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They put a person in it after a major adjustment without testing it unmanned first. Rather unbelievable to me.
 

proppastie

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Notice the callout of time....I don't think that they went past 2 min.
 

Aerowerx

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They put a person in it after a major adjustment without testing it unmanned first. Rather unbelievable to me.
Do they have an unedited continuous video of a person climbing in, taking off, and then doing the aerobatics?

I see no evidence that it was a real live human being on board.

The one picture of an actual person in the thing was when it was stationary only a few feet off the ground.

If you watch the video of the aerobatics, it seems to me that the person (or rather the test dummy) never moves his head through all those maneuvers. That is what is unbelievable to me.
 

rickofudall

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All the hype about air taxi drones (whatever they call them) always amuses me. If you've ever flown an ultralight or light LSA on a very convective day then you know these things are going to be airborne vomitoriums. They better make the interior very easy to hose out.

Rick
 

lr27

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I think how much they bounce around depends on the disk loading. Plus, depending on the frequency of the turbulence, I wonder if it wouldn't be possible to compensate,for some of it. I had a ride in a Jetranger once. It was very steady most of the time, though I'll admit to getting a little queasy when we were downwind of a tall building.
 
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