Ladies and gentlemen, meet a modern-day Wright Brother.
A video below shows an intrepid English inventor/pilot taking his “superdrone” for a test spin in a park. Fittingly dubbed “The Swarm” (fired up, it sounds exactly like a mob of angry bees), the invention is something like a homemade helicopter: a chair surrounded on all sides by 54 rotating propellers.
It sounds like a crazy idea, right? Yet sure enough, once the propellers get going, the man takes off, hovering several feet off the ground:
Are we witnessing the future of air travel?
Well, maybe not. But you have to admire the technical craftsmanship and pioneer spirit displayed here.
With the rise of consumer-affordable drone technology, an online community of technical hobbyists has grown, full of DIY tinkerers just seeing what can be created. This video below shows the extent to which a little creative engineering can go with parts available online.
Our pilot even implemented some basic directional control, thanks to the craft’s multi-grouped control channels.
At the 1:27 mark, he flies forward for a few seconds:
And at 2:20, he really takes off the ground — perhaps far more than expected, given his cameraman’s shouts of concern. Thankfully, our pilot lands safely once again, Swarm intact.
There’s something funny about the pilot’s composure throughout the flight. Dressed in shorts and a t-shirt, with an umbrella over his head, in a reclined position, he looks from a distance like a middle-aged vacationer enjoying a day out.
It’s not quite what you might expect a man in a experimental flying machine, surrounded by spinning propellers at face level, to look like.
So even if Swarms don’t replace cars as our favorite mode of transportation any time soon, it’s always nice to see someone create something and pursue a pastime they’re passionate about.
Think about the time and effort that must’ve been applied here: the technical schematics, working out the physics, buying all that hardware, practicing control, all just to see if it can be done at all. In that sense it’s inspiring to see the Swarm take off the ground, even if the trips only last a minute.
And hopefully he starts doing rentals, because I want to take it for a spin.