It took him over two years of development, but this daring Swede was recently propelled aloft for around eight minutes of flight in his homemade electric multirotor. And what a glorious eight minutes it was.
The unnamed pilot, who has been posting updates on his quadcopter project under the handle “amazingDIYprojects” for over seven years now, can be seen buzzing through the trees in this sun-dappled Swedish forrest like something out of a Scandinavian fairy tale. At the end of the video, he demonstrates the quadcopter’s vertical prowess by bouncing gleefully up and down in the air while seated in the center of four circular rotor-mounts. “It’s like a rollercoaster feeling,” he says breathlessly at one point.
He says he used 57 percent of his battery capacity for the eight-minute flight, which leads him to theorize a total flying time of 14 minutes. “Overall the test went really well,” he writes on YouTube. “There was a little more vibration than I had anticipated, and Yaw directional stability in forward flight was inadequate. In this first flight the I-gain limits were set to zero. Next flight, the Yaw I-limit will be set to a value above zero to obtain better directional stability.” Which is to say, the inventor is working on improving the stability and functionality for future flights.
This isn’t the first amateur, manned multicopter we’ve seen. Inventor Thorstin Crijns has a similar model with 16 props. E-volo, a German aviation startup, has been pursuing ultralight, electrically powered multicopter technology for several years now. The company’s Volocopter VC200, a 18-rotor drone-helicopter hybrid, took its first crewed flight last year. Meanwhile, ride-hail giant Uber says it will launch a flying taxi service using “vertical take-off and landing” aircraft in 2020.
Still the idea of passenger-carrying drones deployed in any sort of commercial, taxi-like capacity is still years in the future. Chinese drone company EHang says it will test its autonomous quadcopter drones in Dubai this summer, though most experts are skeptical these projects can overcome obstacles in weight restriction and battery capacity that would be needed to successfully carry human passengers.
“This project is about obtaining the precious feeling of freedom.”
None of which seems to bother our intrepid Swedish inventor. The rotor configuration appears to be much safer than previous incarnations of the inventor’s quadcopter, which featured eight spinning blades adjacent to the open cockpits. Nonetheless, the inventor isn’t wearing a helmet or anything that could protect him from the whirling rotors. He said he declined to wear any serious protective gear in order to feel more “free.” “This project is about obtaining the precious feeling of freedom,” he writes. “10 min at a time LOL... I know, but still.....so wearing a fortress would be counterproductive.”
Still, the inventor says he is committed to building the safest aircraft he can — even if that means flying completely naked. “I have tried to build in safety in the structure itself, so that I can feel FREE,” he write. “Goggles and ear protection or headphones is a must. All other clothing is OPTIONAL. I’m flying in a un-populated area, so I just might try flying nude. I promise to NOT make a video documenting that flight... LOL!”
Thank you for that.