back to article Daredevil Brit lifts off in 54-prop quinquaquadcopter

An intrepid Brit has demonstrated the Right Stuff by strapping himself into an improbable but highly pleasing home-built, 54-prop flying contraption. The £6,000 quinquaquadcopter, dubbed by its creator the "Swarm Manned Aerial Vehicle Multirotor Super Drone", uses off-the shelf 18in props and an awful lot of 4-cell LiPos. …

  1. elDog Silver badge

    If he put the blades on the bottom-side, he could make a bit of a living

    Mowing the grass.

  2. DougS Silver badge

    Daredevil?

    I guess the bar is pretty low in Britain. You want to see daredevils, check out any random Youtube video posted by a Russian or a redneck.

    The worse he risked here is power cutting out, falling 3-4 feet and maybe getting a minor bruise...

    1. TitterYeNot

      Re: Daredevil?

      "You want to see daredevils, check out any random Youtube video posted by a Russian or a redneck"

      Yes, I'm afraid this alleged daredevil might seem to be a little more methodical and careful, and how can I put this politely, a little less of a fuckwitted lobotomy volunteer gung-ho compared to some other nations' examples.

      But the thing is you see, our glorious garden shed boffins have a rather greater chance of passing on their determination and ingenuity to the next generation of unsung heroes, and a rather smaller of a chance doing the gene pool a favour and earning an ignominious Darwin award...

      1. DropBear Silver badge

        Re: Daredevil?

        "Yes, I'm afraid this alleged daredevil might seem to be a little more methodical..."

        That's NOT a quinquackquackquadwhatevercopter, that's 54 electric fans strapped to the same basket. Zero stability, zero control. Next...

    2. werdsmith Silver badge

      Re: Daredevil?

      It's got nothing to do with daredevil, that's just the inane Register headline.

      For daredevil, how about 760MPh in a trike with a fighter jet engine. That's where the bar is at.

      1. James Hughes 1

        Re: Daredevil?

        re: Trike with fighter engine. Thrust SSC was not a trike, it had four wheels,in case that is what you were talking about.

    3. akeane
      Pint

      Re: Daredevil?

      Sir, you have greatly underestimated the dangers involved here.

      A minor bruise is one thing, but what if you had spilt your cup of tea!!!

      Or beer!!!

    4. Bitbeisser
      Devil

      Re: Daredevil?

      No, not the "pilot", the camera man!

      If that thing would have crashed sideways, in his direction, he would be turned to minced meat in a heartbeat...

    5. Captain Scarlet Silver badge

      Re: Daredevil?

      Hmm, better battery tech and I could use one to get to and from work direct, I am also planning modifications to include a biscuit barrel

  3. SecretSonOfHG

    Ian Fleming would be proud

    To see this kind of crazy Caractacus Potts kind of contraption made real. Hats off. Useless but brilliant at the same time. Not to mention taking the risk of surrounding oneself with 18 inch props rotating at high speed just to... prove your point?

    1. 2+2=5 Silver badge
      Black Helicopters

      Re: Ian Fleming would be proud

      Missed opportunity - should have made a flying bed

      [Couldn't decide whether to use the helicopter icon or the hazard one!]

      1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

        Re: Ian Fleming would be proud

        It's more Jules Verne-ish

        ROBUR THE CONQUEROR.

        Just needs a flying smoking salon for the refined french gentleman.

        1. Anonymous Custard Silver badge
          Joke

          Re: Ian Fleming would be proud

          I was thinking more that Pixar have gone somewhat more high-tech in their sequel to Up!

          1. Peshman

            Re: Ian Fleming would be proud

            "I was thinking more that Pixar have gone somewhat more high-tech in their sequel to Up!"

            Thwup!

            Thwup Thwup Thwup Thwup Thwup Thwup Thwup Thwup...

    2. mediabeing

      Re: Ian Fleming would be proud

      You must feel at least a bit of shame/embarrassment for your last statement here.

      You benefit directly from such crackpots. You should be on your knees thanking existence that such out of the box thinkers exist! Shame on you. Ungrateful cave being, wake up and give credit where due.

  4. erikj

    the vehicle "has little yaw authority"

    ...nor much authority for pitch either, as seen at 2:20, where the videographer became rather concerned for Paul's safety.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: the vehicle "has little yaw authority"

      He had it on low rates, later he put it on high and acro, that park is a topiary display now.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Yay for the idea...

    ..boo for the title of the contraption. Could spell something vaguely menacing, such as SPECTRE or CUTTER or VAVAVOOM.

    1. Eddy Ito Silver badge

      Re: Yay for the idea...

      Agreed, I love the feat. The name I'm not sure about but more because he called it "super drone". I don't think it's still a drone if it has the pilot aboard. I think as configured it's a regular aircraft but if it just carried the occupant as cargo then it could be a drone.

      I suppose it could have remote controls that would make it either depending on whether the occupant was holding the remote. Of course in that instance a tether on the remote would be rather handy since dropping it would likely result in some fancy maneuvering as the joysticks get knocked about on hitting the ground.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Yay for the idea...

      Agreed on the lame name (goes with the socks?)

      How about:

      Aeronautic Numerous Gyro Rotating Yawless Battery Energized Eccentric System (ANGRYBEES)

      Hovering Overhead Lifting Device Making Yellow Britches Every Effin Ride (HOLDMYBEER)

      I'm sure my fellow commentards can do even better.

  6. x 7

    has the CAA been advised of this? Does he have a pilots licence? Is the aircraft approved / licenced? Is he insured for public liability - he's in a public park?

    1. Voland's right hand Silver badge

      This is the real daredevil part

      Dealing with all the bureaucracy and surviving with your sanity intact.

    2. Bloakey1

      "has the CAA been advised of this? Does he have a pilots licence? Is the aircraft approved / licenced? Is he insured for public liability - he's in a public park?"

      Fsck me. Every time I go to the toilet now I have to do a risk assessment and follow the check list;

      Seatbelt on.

      Helmet on and pointed towards bowl.

      Glasses on in case of splash-back.

      Legs braced and back straight to avoid strain injury.

      Bloody health and safety!!!

      This thing is awesome yet useless, as awesome in its futility as the floppy disk RAID array, yet I love it and will cherish the memory of seeing it.

      Floppy RAID array, a whole 4 megabytes of awesome storage potential;

      http://macguild.org/raid.html

      1. John Smith 19 Gold badge
        Thumb Up

        "Floppy RAID array, a whole 4 megabytes of awesome storage potential;"

        http://macguild.org/raid.html

        But consider the possibilities.

        Data split across disks.

        Garbage unless all combined in correct position in the stack.

        Do that with bigger media and you could be onto something.

      2. x 7

        @bloakey1

        "Seatbelt on.

        Helmet on and pointed towards bowl.

        Glasses on in case of splash-back.

        Legs braced and back straight to avoid strain injury.

        Bloody health and safety!!!"

        You're obviously a henpecked husband. Tell her you're a man and WILL pee standing up, and WILL leave the toilet seat up.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: @bloakey1

          My wife insists on leaving the toilet seat up.

          Drives me potty, so to speak.

          1. x 7

            Re: @bloakey1

            "My wife insists on leaving the toilet seat up"

            does she pee standing up?

            You should be scared......very scared

        2. nijam

          Re: @bloakey1

          > "You're obviously a henpecked husband. Tell her you're a man and WILL pee standing up, and WILL leave the toilet seat up."

          If you want the argument to escalate, you should leave the toilet seat down when you pee standing up.

    3. vogon00

      Never mind all that worrying...I say more power to the guy.

      Typical British pluck...he wanted to do something, no-one was going do it for him so he got off his arse and did it himself, probably learning loads in the process.

      Ever tried to do something just to see if you can? I have, and it's one of the most rewarding feelings ever when whatever it is you have attempted to do or make works.

      We need more people like him - in the tech. industry, in Britain and in the world.

      1. VinceH Silver badge

        "Ever tried to do something just to see if you can? I have, and it's one of the most rewarding feelings ever when whatever it is you have attempted to do or make works."

        Indeed - but re x 7's comment, I do have a depressing feeling that at some point in the future we'll be reading about how the guy has been fined as a result of doing this.

        1. Jack of Shadows Silver badge

          "... fined as a result of doing this." Yep. Without high-powered coverage up the chain, anything I'd done would of been shutdown upon immediate discovery, end of career for me, yada, yada. However, it's surely the best things I've ever done. May not have better than sex, but close if not equal.

          1. werdsmith Silver badge

            > "... fined as a result of doing this."

            I think if he can be fined on the strength of what we've seen in the video, then Greg Rutherford is in a lot of trouble.

            1. VinceH Silver badge
              Unhappy

              @werdsmith

              You'd be surprised at how anal the people with very nasal voices that work in local authorities can be.

              Things that spring to mind include the fact that he's operating the quinquaquadcopter in a public space - which he would almost certainly have needed permission to do, and (if it was granted) there would have been safety requirements that would very likely include preventing random people from wandering by. The fact that there were random people wandering by leads me to infer that permission wasn't obtained.

              So there's a potential fine "on the strength of what we've seen in the video" without even trying to speak (or type) with a nasal voice.

  7. W Donelson

    Wow, now that is what a I call... A HACK !

    WOOT !

  8. Mark 85 Silver badge

    Pure Garden Shed Boffinry....

    It hovers, it flies. It lands. Precursor to the flying car we've all been promised?

    Ok.. maybe not boffinry but parts-filddling.

    1. Bloakey1

      Re: Pure Garden Shed Boffinry....

      <snip>

      "Ok.. maybe not boffinry but parts-filddling."

      Nothing like removing the context to make a remark.

      Sooooo, what you do in private in your shed should be kept there. What happens in the shed stays in the shed.

      I tried some boffinry with my SO in the shed and she was having none of it, so yes after that I did fiddle with some parts.

  9. TheFinn

    Would've liked to have seen some sandals to finish off that ensemble

    1. TheProf

      But almost as good are his sensible black socks and plimsolls.

      1. graeme leggett

        Apart from the increase in sartorial elegance, anyone care to calculate the extension in flight time by loosing the socks?

        More seriously, I take it the frame is aluminium tube but I wonder if it could be lightened further without diminishing structural strength.

        1. Mark 85 Silver badge

          Carbon fiber (fibre). Very strong in tube form and lighter than aluminum (aluminium). But, the stuff is quite a bit pricier than the tubing he used.

  10. Andy the ex-Brit

    I like the silver car at 3:07 that drives past, then reverses to check out W.T.F. was that?

  11. Disko
    Go

    Can I

    give this 54 upvotes...

  12. YARR
    Boffin

    Very cool (literally)

    I wonder if you need a license to operate one of these?

    Next step would be to add some controls, or are they just not working very well? If the seat was hanging, then you could control it by shifting your weight around like a glider. Otherwise, if the rotors on the left and right sides are contra-rotating, add a joystick which alters their relative speed on the left-right axis to rotate the copter, and similarly alters the relative speed of the front and back rotors to tilt/move forward and backward.

    After that you could compensate for wind-drift - not sure if that can be done using a gyroscope or GPS or something that can measure the ground speed.

    1. phuzz Silver badge
      Boffin

      Re: Very cool (literally)

      Image recognition is cheap and easy now, so just point a camera down and track which way you're moving.

      I know there are smaller drones out there that use the system, although a friend was flying his when a small dog wandered underneath, which the system interpreted as being the bit of ground it was tracking and proceeded to follow the dog.

      Bonus points if you make it out of an old optical mouse.

      1. x 7

        Re: Very cool (literally)

        how did the dog react to that? I can imagine am amusing state of panic....

      2. Kevin Johnston

        Re: Very cool (literally)

        '...Bonus points if you make it out of an old optical mouse....'

        Do I detect a fellow fan of 'The Looking Glass' series?

  13. Nick Kew Silver badge
    Coat

    Hmmm ...

    " Sponsored: How to deal with Windows Server 2003 end of support ". So now we know.

    Can I be the only one to think the Wright brothers may have had more direction?

  14. John Brown (no body) Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    Typically British!

    No cockpit, but has a cockpit canopy. He understand British weather!

    No seat belt or other straps, but he's wearing a crash helmet! Smart man,

    And then there's the panicked "Be careful" from the cameraman as he rises a bit higher than planned for shortly after the cameraman ran away from the obviously unskilled pilot flying the hover mower of spinning death straight at him!

    All good stuff and great fun, but as someone above already mentioned, the next time we hear of this guy it'll be because some jobsworth has reported him and he'll end up with a fine for flying an experimental aircraft in a public place without a licence :-(

    1. graeme leggett

      Re: Typically British!

      I thought the canopy might be to deflect any prop should it become detached and fly inwards towards his bonce.

      1. Vladimir Plouzhnikov

        Re: Typically British!

        Seeing how it's totally opaque - I'm sure that canopy is to prevent the pilot from being terrified by the view around him. A bit like the blinkers they put on horses, you know...

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Multiple redundant blades

    but not quite in the cloud yet.

  16. Notas Badoff

    Ambition

    He's got navigation lights on the sides and a flag decal... he's going places!

    1. Jan 0

      Re: Ambition

      Whoa, this is Britain, we don't do "decals". We apply transfers. Let's reserve the -mania for this modern flying bedstead. Boffinry lives!

  17. Captain DaFt

    Woo!

    It's a useless, dangerous, and mad bonkers insane contraption that looks incredibly fun to play with.

    I give it two big thumbs up!

  18. TheOtherHobbes

    "No Mr Bond, I don't expect you to fly."

    Completely bonkers, home-made, and wearing the world's most beige shorts.

    Brilliant. 54 thumbs up.

    1. GrumpyOldBloke

      Beige shorts and short black socks - authentically British.

  19. Pen-y-gors Silver badge

    Absolutely f***ing brilliant!

    Give the man an OBE.

    Could this be inspiration for the next SPB project? Scale it up to 96 24-inch rotors, Some serious battery capacity, a few more controls and we'll have something suitable for popping down to the shops.

  20. Dick Head

    I'm really surprised...

    ...that the term 'Flying Bedstead' hasn't come up at some point.

    Anyone interested in the original Rolls Royce model should look up "Rolls-Royce Thrust Measuring Rig" in Wikipedia. During my youth this was a much celebrated development.

  21. Will Godfrey Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    Absolutely Nuts

    But I love it. What a beautifully insane construction, and for all that it actually works... sort of. Boffinry at it's best!

    1. Lars Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      Re: Absolutely Nuts

      Liked it too, just a bit surprised he had no space suit.

  22. Tom 7 Silver badge

    22Kw

    is around 30horses which is 6 or less decent easily controlled glow plug engines with potential for much more flight time.

    They're about £200 a pop pop buzzzzzzzzzzzzzscreeam too!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: 22Kw

      I know it's completely impractical - but 54 Mamod steam engines would also be a joyous sight.

  23. mallettron

    where is the flip button ?

    Most of the toy quads have a flip button for doing some kind of aerobatics, to sell this commercially he will need to fit one

    Also I don't recomend putting a DJI Naza on as there have been quite a few flyaways, probably not a good thing

    Well done tho

  24. Unicornpiss Silver badge
    Meh

    I hope there is a centralized control system...

    I can't imagine starting all those props individually.... I'd be extremely annoyed just soldering the wires for 54 motors, but people have always said that I lack ambition...

  25. Oldfogey

    Ducted Fans?

    I'm thinking ducted fans would be more efficient, plus a whole lot safer.

    Add a Pi to control stability and it could just work.

    1. ilmari

      Re: Ducted Fans?

      I think his current control and stabilisation system is more arduino-like than Pi-like.

      While the Pi has powerful cpu and tons of ram, it's pretty starved in the I/O department.

  26. ici.chacal

    It's good, but...

    I'd have preferred to see him build it using 54 of those cat quadracopters that were featured a while back instead...

  27. Tree 71

    Potential

    Get a raspberry pi flight computer, that can take feedback from the rotors, a lighter carbon fibre frame, and centralized power, (The CAA might need to know about this at some point), and this will go somewhere...

  28. Ru'

    That is absolutely fantastic!

    And you know it's a British invention when it comes with an integrated umbrella! Top work.

    1. Holtsmark
      Black Helicopters

      British invention?

      Regrettably, the Germans beat the british with a couple of years....

      https://youtu.be/L75ESD9PBOw

  29. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    He got further off the ground than El Reg did with LOHAN rocket in the US

    Nuff said

  30. Gruezi

    Oh please please pleeeeeease El Reg Special Projects Bureau

    Can you take this idea and make this your next special project?

    More blades. Better/lighter tubes. Assisted piloting control. The whole nine yards. Fire up a Kickstarter, I'll donate some cash!

    1. Lester Haines (Written by Reg staff) Gold badge

      Re: Oh please please pleeeeeease El Reg Special Projects Bureau

      Hmmmmm...

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Oh please please pleeeeeease El Reg Special Projects Bureau

      Version 1: How high up will the rotors raise Lester.

      Version 2: Once max. rotor altitude is reached Lester jumps out and ignites a massive rocket tied to his back.

  31. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Ground effect

    At that height it is basically just a ground effect flyer - amusing but not that impressive.

    If he was flying at 10m or so that I will start being impressed.

    1. Sir Runcible Spoon Silver badge

      Re: Ground effect

      Considering how small those rotors are I don't see this as being a ground-effect flight at all.

      What's the effective lift distance from a rotor that size, even if there are 54 of them?

  32. Schlimnitz

    "The English, the English, the English are best

    I wouldn't give tuppence for all of the rest"

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