There is no limit to what a creative and enthusiastic young mind can do, and a team of students from Singapore have proven this yet again. As part of a program on leisurecraft, the team of young engineers built the first of its kind one-person helicopter, powered by batteries. The design of the machine resembles something taken out of a sci-fi movie, and it holds the potential to realize every boy’s dream.
The personal helicopter, called Snowstorm, is build from super light carbon fiber. It also has an aluminium frame, which is supported by Kevlar rope and determines the hexagon shape. The craft is powered by three lithium ion batteries, which provide sufficient juice to power the 24 motors, which then drive the 2.2 kW propeller.
The craft is also equipped with safety measures to ensure that the pilot will not sustain injuries during landing or in case of emergency. These include a five-point safety harness, and inflatable balls that insure pleasurable soft landing.
Snowstorm is still a prototype. In its shape right now, it can carry a 70 kg person for 5 minutes in the air. The pilot can decide if he/she wants to operate the craft himself or to switch the autopilot mode and just enjoy the ride. In case he wants to have a bit more control over the machine, he is given the option to determine the thrust, pitch, toll and yawn of the machine.
There is also an option for the machine to be operated from the ground, where there is a switch to end the flight and land the craft. In this case, the pilot has no control.
The students, along with their project supervisors, believe that Snowstorm can be brought very close to commercializing in the coming year. For now, thought, they are still busy perfecting the set up so that once it hits the market, it is there to stay.
Image (c) National University of Singapore