Lift's Octadecarotor Aircraft is Almost Ready to Fly

Discussion in 'HardForum Tech News' started by AlphaAtlas, Dec 11, 2018.

  1. AlphaAtlas

    AlphaAtlas [H]ard|Gawd Staff Member

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    While Uber, Google, and others are working on flying taxis, a small company from Austin, Texas intends to beat them to the punch. Lift Aircraft has developed a manned, 18-rotor VTOL aircraft called "Hexa," and they say it'll be ready soon. The company will start selling flight time in 2019, and claim the craft is significantly easier to fly that a helicopter. The controls are based on a "joystick and an iPad Pro," and ground control can take over if something happens to the pilot. Small batteries are mounted under each rotor for reliability, and they're supposedly good for about 10-15 minutes of flight.

    Check out the aircraft in action here.


    Pilots will undertake a brief VR training session before they head out to the launch pad, to familiarize themselves with the control scheme. On the joystick, it's as simple as push to go in any direction, with a thumb control for altitude and an index finger control for yaw (the company initially thought a twist-to-turn yaw control would be more intuitive, but found it harder to use in flight tests than a separate control). The iPad touchscreen console will make things even simpler for beginner pilots, enabling one-touch takeoff and landing, and walking you through simple beginner tutorials much like you'd do as a first timer on a DJI drone. "There's not a lot of training required," Chasen tells us. "It's sort of like a video game, a game that you get to fly in." From there, you're off. As the Hexa will be flying under the ultralight classification (meaning it requires no certification or pilot's license), you'll be limited to flying under 700 feet, or 1200 feet in some locations, and not over any populated areas. Maximum speed for ultralights is 55 knots, or about 63 mph/101 km/h in terms of ground speed, and Chasen says if the Hexa turns out to be capable of going faster than that, it'll be electronically restricted from doing so.
     
  2. Shotglass01

    Shotglass01 [H]ard|Gawd

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    So it's a drone, larger drone, with people, and death! :D This is going to be so awesome!
     
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  3. Darunion

    Darunion 2[H]4U

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    Would be a much more enjoyable way to go to/from work.
     
  4. schoenda

    schoenda Gawd

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    Yeah...struck me as exactly the same as if my Inspire 1 was big enough to carry me....could see this as great for say a rancher that needs to inspect many miles of fence or other remotely situated things...pump stations etc that are on private and sparsely populated land....but wait for the recreational operators to come...I am pretty sure really cool stuff like national parks is already out under current ultralight laws, so given the stipulation that you cannot fly over populated areas we will see people gathering in remote places like they do today to wing suit or sky dive.....I wonder if this thing could lift the weight of an explosively deployed chute like they have for drones...and what that would do to flight time which already sucks (10-15min)...ahhh progress.
     
  5. Darunion

    Darunion 2[H]4U

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    "The Hexa is able to operate safely with up to six of its motors down, but it also runs a ParaZero ballistic parachute in case of total failure."
     
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  6. schoenda

    schoenda Gawd

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    Thanks Darunion. So less death and more fun for all! Any links to the ParaZero testing footage with the Hexa?
     
  7. IcePickFreak

    IcePickFreak [H]ard|Gawd

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  8. Darunion

    Darunion 2[H]4U

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    Not sure. Will check at home. I would hope they do such a thing similar to seatbelts and airbags during a crash. Helps confidence IMO.
     
  9. oldmanbal

    oldmanbal 2[H]4U

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    God help you if the ipad battery dies or overheats while it is controlling your flying machine a hundred feet in the air.
     
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  10. Elios

    Elios [H]ardness Supreme

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  11. Elios

    Elios [H]ardness Supreme

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    to bad the FAA says you cant

    again this thing has no range and no failure mode if the battery gives out or any other fancy hardware fails
     
  12. Hatriot

    Hatriot Limp Gawd

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    Geez guys, not much sense of adventure on here. You all sound like a bunch of helicopter moms with their babies at a playground. That being said, it looks fun, but goofy as hell. The Google one is what I would want even though I hate the company.
     
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  13. Elios

    Elios [H]ardness Supreme

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    yeah this POS has a ... wait for it.... 15 MIN ENDURANCE ! FUCKING POINT LESS

    atlest the Mosquito you can fly for ~ an hour
     
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  14. AlphaAtlas

    AlphaAtlas [H]ard|Gawd Staff Member

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    Actually, each rotor has its own battery. If one blows up, the others can still supposedly operate fine.

    That doesn't rule out other failures though.
     
  15. Elios

    Elios [H]ardness Supreme

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    they say thay have take off and land from 12m platforms so the BRS can work because FUCK FAILURE MODES where you know a single rotor heli could just auto rotate and not waste payload or fuel load on a BRS

    OH and its to heavy to be an Ultralight which means you would need at lest a LSA rating if not a full PPL anyway soo

    when http://www.innovatortech.ca/Mosquito_Model_XE285.html this cost 1/3 as much and can fly for as long as 3 hours this over grown 'drone' is point less you could put the same avionics in to a Mosquito and it would fly the same to the pilot

    the only thing multi rotors have is they are simpler repair which with manned air craft you hopefully dont do much anyway
     
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  16. Dekoth-E-

    Dekoth-E- [H]ardness Supreme

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    "it's sort of like a video game, except one you can fly in".

    Or die in.. There is that as well. Sorry but there is no way in hell I would ever get into anything you could fly with an iPad.
     
  17. Elios

    Elios [H]ardness Supreme

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    again you could put the same software and hardware in normal helicopter i dont get why people keep going down this "drone" rabbit hole they are not efficient at all have no failure modes
     
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  18. Darunion

    Darunion 2[H]4U

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    Was joking, I know that lol.

    Can run with 6 motors offline and has a balistic parachute deploy system.

    Also this is just a recreational 'ride' so you really just fly around from one of their bases to another or in the vicinity and back.
     
  19. Dekoth-E-

    Dekoth-E- [H]ardness Supreme

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    Key word from me was anything. I don't care what the form factor is. I'm not getting into any aircraft that is controlled with a tablet.
     
  20. Chebsy

    Chebsy Gawd

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    Ill take two please :)
     
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  21. schoenda

    schoenda Gawd

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    Yeah, your comment on the weight being too much for ultralight seems to stand up. Odd the web site says it would be flown under ultralight rules and then lists it as over 400 lbs.
     
  22. Rahh

    Rahh [H]ard|Gawd

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    yes, please give me 10 more rotating blades to manage and accompany for that after all performs significantly worse than a single blade setup... said no one ever...
     
  23. schoenda

    schoenda Gawd

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    That gas engine would like totally ruin my silicon valley ZEN experience dude.
     
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  24. Elios

    Elios [H]ardness Supreme

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    wow this thing just gets better "It's gonna be in the area of US$150 to $250." yeahh for 15 min... you can rent a 172 WET for an hour for that much
     
  25. Elios

    Elios [H]ardness Supreme

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  26. schoenda

    schoenda Gawd

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  27. Darunion

    Darunion 2[H]4U

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  28. Sonickrunch

    Sonickrunch n00b

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    Noise....noise....noise...

    I love that all these videos play this wonderful music, because if they didn't we would all say, no fing thank you. We all know how loud a small drone is...now amplify that...now not only amplify that, but add 10 or so in the air at all times in a downtown core. We all lookup when we hear a helicopter and it's novel but when they are constantly in the air buzzing around. F no.
     
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  29. Hatriot

    Hatriot Limp Gawd

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    That is no joke. That would would most likely be the deal breaker more than anything else. Not that ultralights are very quiet either.
     
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  30. revenant

    revenant [H]ardForum Junkie

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  31. SixFootDuo

    SixFootDuo [H]ardness Supreme

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    You're kidding right? You do know that there are more videos of drones crashing and burning all over Youtube than there are of actual safe drone operationing and landings right?

    In fact, Drone and Crash are synonymous with one another.

    Sense of adventure?

    Once we have 3rd and 4th generation human drone transportation, over-engineered safety features, trust me, I'll hop aboard.
     
  32. Darunion

    Darunion 2[H]4U

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    Did you really just use a number of youtube videos as a form of data for reliability? Also, source of successful flight videos vs crash videos?

    Unless joking in which case I lol.
     
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  33. Dr. Righteous

    Dr. Righteous 2[H]4U

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    Like all futurist vehicles like this; awaiting viable battery technology.
     
  34. Darunion

    Darunion 2[H]4U

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    Yup, If battery could meet or exceed the energy density of fossil fuels, things would change quickly.
     
  35. robjordan406

    robjordan406 Limp Gawd

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    If wonder if your insurance would be valid flying one of these things. Most times, insurance is no good on a private plane...
     
  36. SixFootDuo

    SixFootDuo [H]ardness Supreme

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    I'm not talking about reliability I'm talking about the public's perception.
     
  37. schoenda

    schoenda Gawd

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    But that's coming any day now too! ;)
     
  38. zkostik

    zkostik Gawd

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    Umm, it says this thing has only 10-15 minutes of fly time so it's pretty much worthless outside their test facility. I'm sure the cost of it is going to be insane as well not to mention necessary licenses to fly it.
     
  39. Wrecked Em

    Wrecked Em [H]ardness Supreme

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    The fact they are going electric means it's doomed.
     
  40. Full Otto

    Full Otto [H]Lite

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    It's not a mode of transport, it's a jetski (a real one, not the sit down SeaDoo things) for the air.

    That being said, there is so much wrong here.

    I don't get the ultralight reference for something so heavy. The only thing I can come up with is they don't have to count the battery cells because it's "fuel". That might get them under the 275 Lbs or so you get with a ballistic chute. 125/18 = 6.94 pounds per rotor. That sounds a bit heavy for 15 minutes of runtime, but given they plan for losing a third, it seems reasonable. It's even more reasonable if they are being conservative with their low voltage cut off.

    In regards to fuel, an ultralight is allowed 5 US gallons. I wonder how that's calculated for battery power. I know it's likely built into the thing but, coming from an RC hobbyist, the thought of keeping that many battery packs balanced is painful.

    And then Part 103 specifies the craft can't be ABLE to exceed 55 knots. This was a given when you were limited to 5 US gallons of fuel in something that could lift a person for an appreciable amount of time. Your average ultralight will lift off at running speed with any kind of headwind, and struggles to double that at full power in level flight. It's basically a jon boat with just a trolling motor in the air. Did they get some kind of waiver for the limiter?

    Slightly off topic, the Mosquito UL Heli is seriously on my radar. I've always planned for an ultralight aircraft to play with, having rented several, but this thing opens up so many possibilities with it's VTOL capabilities. My workplace has swaths of unused parking, where it's not uncommon for people to park their RVs in a back corner for months without issue. I could conceivably park it there for the week, using my car to go to my house in town each night, and then fly out to my property at the end of the week. Mondays would be nice when they start with a flight into work. The issues would be having to fly near an International airport and a major Air Force training base, not to mention populated areas. So while that's not happening, just being able to pop to the store or a next door neighbor in the country with it would be cool. Hell, just flying around whenever I wanted would be awesome. I got turned on to them a few years ago when someone posted a video of one being used to pluck an RC aircraft out of a tree. It's a really slick platform. I'm far from "rich" and one of these is totally doable. So we aren't all in flying cars, but it's not hard to fly your own vehicle if you are smart with your money. I'd call that progress.
     
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