Skelmersdale, Lancashire, United Kingdom
The TELEDRONE project was one of 31 to qualify for the second phase of the GoFly Challenge, having been established to investigate the potential for an airframe designed to ‘teleport’ passengers by the simplest means or nearly as simple as making a phone call.
Leading the project is Colin Hilton, with 15,000 hours flight experience and over 10,000 command hours on Boeing and Airbus types. He is a qualified trainer participating in flight safety programs. His previous designs attracted the interest of the British Technology Group and demonstrated to Margaret Thatcher’s minister of technology beside the National Physical Laboratory.
He works with an accountant, electrical engineer, IP associate and executive director to steer the development of this simplest embodiment of the outline and the prototype will be beta-tested as a ground-effect vehicle for reconnaissance, minefield maneuver and ‘over-water’ leisure market.
The powered prototype will use under-slung motors and propellers in line with the pilot’s midriff, which will be protected by a reinforced shroud. The enclosure is tailored by 3-D scanning to the individual and supported by a shoulder harness on the ground, and crotch-strap when airborne.
The flight-deck is 50 cm (19.7 in) square and the rotor-arms 100 cm (39 in) in length. They will support a 101.6 cm (40 in) carbon-fibre propeller and the largest of ‘T-motor’ power-units. The layout has been specifically adapted to the GoFly Challenge, and the cross-span dimension is therefore under 2.60 m (8.5 ft).
Batteries are worn by the operator and the vehicle will be autonomous for medevac operations. Draft flight controls feature dual sidestick, one for pitch/roll and the other a collective. Without input from rudder pedals, yaw will be controlled by push-buttons on either side-stick, though ‘radio-control’ modes will also be available.
The target thrust for each power-unit is in the order of 40 kg (88 lb) and the dry weight of the airframe unladen with motors, rotors or operator is 9 kg (20 lb). Conventional riveted aluminium is used for construction, beside an expanded-foam insert. The arms will eventually be telescopic in order to facilitate the very highest level of portability and practicality. There are no plans yet for ducted fans to replace propellers, which provide maximum efficiency.
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- Teledrone website
- Article: Meet the Teams: Get to Know Team Teledrone, From the United Kingdom, Go Fly Prize, Jan. 15, 2019