Teledrone Mark III
Skelmersdale, Lancashire, United Kingdom
Teledrone Ltd is based in the United Kingdom and was incorporated to design an affordable electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) aircraft for Urban Air Mobility (UAM). Leading the Teledrone project is Colin Hilton, with over 10,000 command hours on Boeing and Airbus types and a qualified trainer. Previous inventions of his were financed by the British Technology Group (BTG), and demonstrated to Margaret Thatcher’s Minister of Technology and the National Physical Laboratory.
Hilton works with a private investor with aviation interests, Peter Day, and a commercial drone manufacturer in order to to steer development of prototypes. He sees the electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) aircraft being used for reconnaissance, infantry maneuvers and the leisure market.
The Teledrone Mark III was a 2⁄3 scale rebuild in the wake of the GoFly Prize competition event in February of 2020. Construction restored a pair of drones at the lower and top ends of the flight compartment, although in a revised layout drawing, inspiration from that resulted in the undercarriage skids.
In the course of the lockdown due to the Covid-19 pandemic, further disruption to the development of the aircraft took place due to accident damage during the transportation of the Mark III eVTOL demonstrator. This resulted in the decision to abandon testing of the Mark III and scrap the airframe, in favor of developing a full-scale prototype in the form of the Mark IV.
The target parameters for all Teledrone subscale and full scale prototypes remain approximately at a cruise speed of 93 km/h (58 mph, 50 kt), a cruise altitude of 457 m (1,500 ft) and a range of 8 km (5 miles).
The design of the models was based upon Doctor Who, a British science-fiction TV show whose main character travels through space and time in a blue phone booth. Hilton chose a red booth for the reason it’s already a British icon. Since you can put electric motors, propellers and a controller on just about anything to make it fly, the Teledrone was invented.
Although this aircraft was designed for one person, at a larger scale, it could be fitted with a rearward facing 'jump' seat. Nonetheless, the goal was to keep the weight under 20 kg (44 lb) to allow the aircraft to remain registered as a drone in the United Kingdom for the purpose of flight testing.
Hilton saw the aircraft as being remotely controlled prior to the passenger having the same controller in the aircraft to allow them to pilot the aircraft themselves, with future versions being autonomous. One application for the Teledrone would be to program a route to fly a child back and forth to school.
Teledrone has the goal of making a low cost eVTOL aircraft that is easy to fly with construction along the lines of an IKEA product. Ordered online, shipped the same day and flying that evening. This will allow individuals, companies, organizations and the military to use eVTOL aircraft for affordable Urban Air Mobility (UAM) and related applications.
Details on Teledrone's other aircraft may be found on the Teledrone, Teledrone Mark I, Teledrone Mark II, and Teledrone Mark IV pages.
- Aircraft type: Subscale eVTOL demonstrator
- Capacity: 1 person
- Cruise speed: 93 km/h (58 mph, 50 kt)
- Cruise altitude: 457 m (1,500 ft)
- Range: 8 km (5 miles) at cruise speed and altitude
- Empty weight: 25 kg (55 lb)
- Battery type: LiPo batteries made for ease-of-use swapping
- Distributed Electric Propulsion (DEP), provides safety through redundancy for its passengers and/or cargo. DEP means having multiple propellers and motors on the aircraft so if one or more motors or propellers fail, the other working motors and propellers can safely land the aircraft. The top propeller assembly are completely independent of the bottom propeller assembly. So if the top propellers unexpected all fail, the bottom propeller assembly could land the aircraft safely to the ground and vice versa.