Aerospace engineer designs drone that uses cyclic blades for vertical flight: watch

An aerospace engineer built an interesting conceptual drone that uses cyclic blades on its wings to stay in the air. Unlike conventional drones or helicopters which have blades rotating on a vertical axis, this new flying device has cyclic blades – which rotate around a horizontal axis. In a video shared on YouTube, Nicholas Rehm, who says he enjoys working on interesting flight projects in his spare time, showed off the “Cyclocopter” he built. This, he says, is a new way to generate enough lift or thrust for an object to fly.

Rehm says his model “is not really a new concept” but has only recently been able to fly at model scale. The video shows that the model has two cyclic rotors to do most heavy tasks and a conventional (vertical axis) propeller in the nose to counter the torque created by the main rotors, similar to the tail rotor of a helicopter.

Watch the video here:

Rehm says the concept was first tried in 1909, but the first flight didn’t take place until the 1930s. However, it was too unstable, so the idea would have been scrapped. But researchers have now been able to build small-scale versions that can be easily controlled.

The video also shows how this design does not require the drone to tilt horizontally forward to fly forward. A conventional quadcopter should tilt forward.

There are, however, some significant issues with the design of the “Cyclocopter”. It is not very solid structurally. While the emphasis has been on aerodynamics and thrust, the strength of the structure requires more attention. During the video, when Rehm attempted a front flip of the “Cyclocopter”, it crashed to the ground. The minor accident damaged one of the rotor arms.

Rehm said that there are definitely some downsides to this design that lead to a loss of performance. “So for now the ‘Cyclocopter’ will remain a cool demonstration of unique aerodynamics and engineering,” said the engineer.

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