Exploitation of a Unique VTOL UAV Concept – Feedback Please!

We are developing a unique, patented VTOL [Vertical Take-Off & Landing], UAV [Unmanned Aerial Vehicle] specifically targeted at urban, mountainous and maritime environments. Full details of the concept and business case can be found in a slide presentation under the SlideShare section of my LinkedIn profile… http://www.linkedin.com/in/ashleycbryant. There is also a video which can again be accessed from my LinkedIn profile or from You Tube with the following url… https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4mmFas3jsgI

We secured a high level of interest from the UK MOD on this exciting concept. However, the devastating effects of the credit crunch have impacted the UK governments’ ability to further invest in this technology at present. As a consequence, we are therefore looking to license this technology and/or partner with a larger industry player. If you have any thoughts therefore as to where we should be directing our efforts for future project funding and any advice on key investor contacts who may have an interest investing in this technology, whether government or commercial, you views and advice would be appreciated.

Views: 578

Comment by bGatti on November 30, 2009 at 12:28pm
So Feedback.
Transitional VTOL Designs are quite common. I don't think you've made a case for competitive advantage.
Can you land with 1 engine out? All 4? Probably not.
The problem with moving props to the edge of the wing is that it increases the wingtip to wingtip beam loads to 100% of payload. The problem with moving mass generally to the periphery is that it increases torsional momentum - thus decreasing the effectiveness of flying surfaces.

The only reason I see that this looks unlike other flying toys is that it is far afield from the conventional optimizations: Decrease torsional momentum, decrease structural loading etc...

That said, if you keep the size down, structure matters less, and you might find some natural stability in increased torsional moment.

Good luck and all.
Comment by Ashley BRYANT on December 1, 2009 at 1:42am
Your comments are interesting, but as ever the devil is in the detail. This design is NOT a transitional VTOL design, the fans rotate, not the body of the UAV (flying-wing and payload). This in itself delivers significant advantages in terms of the payload being able to accurately perform it's task at any phase in the flight envelope, without having to compensate for the transition from vertical to horizontal flight. This design can fly at almost cruise speed with just 2 propulsion units functioning, so long as it's one propulsion unit on one side and one on the other side. Furthermore, we have an advanced aerofoil design, which enables shallow glide angles without power, thus unlike a helicopter, more time and manoeuvrability is available to deliver a safer landing, should all 4 propulsion units fail.

I don't agree with your comments on increase of wingtip to wingtip beam loading. In fact there is some clever internal design and the vertical fins increase the effectiveness of the flying surfaces, rather than decreasing their effectiveness as you suggest. We have done a number of detailed CFD studies to optimise this.

A particular design is only effective when it is fit-for-purpose and this VTOL UAV has been designed for urban, mountainous and maritime environments where gusting is a real issue. The gust response capabilities of this platform are second to none, when compared with alternative designs. With regards to your comments on flying toys, this has not been the objective of this design, flying toys do not need to operate under difficult conditions, deliver long endurance, nor provide a stable platform for payload delivery, they just have to be cheap and great fun.

I do agree that I've not made the case for competitive advantage, so here's just a taster....

This concept is a superb piece of minimal ‘systems-engineering’ based design, eliminating redundant aircraft features that add weight, overcomplicate flight control, increase drag and reduce endurance. In its place is a smaller, lighter, quieter, flexible and scaleable architecture.

Some of the advanced features include almost instantaneous stall recovery, gust insensitivity, reverse thrust to enable the platform to be ‘sucked down’ onto the deck of a ship pitching in heavy seas and minimum power to rotate the thrust-vectoring propulsion units. Even loitering into wind, keeping the vehicle airborne with minimal power, just like sea birds, is also a feature.

In the event of power failure in one or two of the propulsion units, the vehicle can still remain airborne and fly at close to its cruising speed, whilst total propulsion unit failure poses fewer risks than for rotary-wing craft such as helicopters by flying with a shallow glide-angle, rather than at best the rotary-wing craft descending to the ground with its rotor-blades auto gyrating.

This unique patent-pending design has 3 to 4 times the endurance of current VTOL UAV’s carrying an equivalent power source and payload but delivering significantly faster cruise speeds, whilst the same comparisons with current fixed-wing UAV’s demonstrate more than twice the endurance, but with the added advantages of VTOL, high manoeuvrability, low-power loiter and a continuous speed range, which enable this platform to readily operate in urban canyons, still a huge challenge for current UAV systems. The thrust-vectoring propulsion unit design enables the UAV to be launched and recovered from moving vehicles or ships without the need for ancillary equipment.

With advances in specific green fuel-cell technologies, these endurance ratios could be quadrupled within the next couple of years, delivering the much needed very long endurance figures, not possible with today’s small, low-altitude UAV’s.

I hope that I have now done the design justice in at least starting to make for case for competitive advantage, because this design really does have some extra-ordinary characteristics and capabilities!

Admin
Comment by Morli on December 1, 2009 at 6:20am
Very interesting concept Ashley, Any videos of it flying ( not simulator graphics) , unless all of the above is thoretical / simulator test ( I do agree that most of your claims on performance makes sense to me). Thanks
Comment by Ashley BRYANT on December 1, 2009 at 6:34am
Very disappointingly, the answer is unfortunately no. We secured a high level of interest from the UK MOD on this exciting concept. However, the devastating effects of the credit crunch have impacted the UK governments’ ability to further invest in this technology at present. As a consequence, we are therefore looking to license this technology and/or partner with a larger industry player. If you have any thoughts therefore as to where we should be directing our efforts for future project funding and any advice on key investor contacts who may have an interest investing in this technology, whether government or commercial, you views and advice would be appreciated.

Admin
Comment by Morli on December 1, 2009 at 7:36am
Ashley , I am truly sorry to hear that, Iets wait for others to comment.advice.and feedbacks, I am not qualified to advice regarding commercial aspect , marketing , etc. However IMHO, a working prototype with demo videos of its performance etc will have better success rate/chances in snaring in prospective investors and other possibilities. Since you have done lot of simulation testing already and probably have configuration thought out too along with some scale drawings/specs of model , how hard and expensive do you think will it be to get a working prototype going? Just asking to get an Idea of experience involved in getting a Idea into working prototype.. I will get back as I think of some thing.. I am sure there are quite a few very experienced members here who can guide you. Good luck mean while.
Comment by Ashley BRYANT on December 1, 2009 at 8:04am
I completely agree with you regarding a flying prototype, hence our engagement and initial funding through the UK MoD. We have a complete Technology Demonstrator design ready to go, with a wingspan of just under 1m (3 feet). The most costly elements to produce are the composite mouldings, the fan design and manufacture and certain specialist elements of the flight control system. It was truly a case, if the UK MoD had had the funding, of pushing the button, so to speak to start prototype manufacture and flight trials. Having successfully produced other Technology Demonstrator designs in the past, we have extensive exerience of developing such systems and proving the core capabilities of the design.

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