UK-based company Malloy Aeronautics has developed a new type of helicopter which they call a quadcopter. They have already manufactured a model, one third the size of a real one, and this is already popular with drone enthusiasts. But the team behind it say that this is only the beginning. They are confident that soon they’ll be able to test a real, full-sized one, controlled by a human rider. And they say the quadcopter is safer than a conventional helicopter.
Chris Malloy, the managing director of Malloy Aeronautics Ltd, and the designer of the Malloy Hoverbike, said: “The reason we moved from the bi-copter design to the quadcopter design was because the technology has now moved to such a point that controlling a vehicle using independent thrust through the four motors of a quadcopter is much more efficient and cheaper now than it was when I first started this bi-copter design.”
The small scale drone model has been marketed commercially as a way of raising funds to develop a larger version. But Chris Malloy is testing a tethered full-size prototype.
He said: “The advantage that the hoverbike has over helicopters is that it can fly amongst trees safely. Rotor-strike is a major issue with helicopters, but this design eliminates rotor-strike by protecting the propeller blades from the ground as well as from airborne obstacles. The helicopter is inherently complex, but the hoverbike is simple. So, that makes it safer. And it’s built to be robust and be flown in environments that would present problems to a typical helicopter.”
The team at Malloy say the hoverbike will be low cost, and that its size will make it a practical option for farmers, for search and rescue teams, for emergency services like ambulances, and loading cargo into confined spaces.