Our efforts through the winter are seeing the gradual emergence of a Sky Hopper design that can be manufactured. Our efforts last summer have been refined and updated, while the stress calculations are being re-visited to check if component and sub-assembly changes are good for the loads that we see being taken by our core body.
We have also been concentrating on the options between the use of alloy and composites. While composites are low mass and offer us the ability to make interesting compound shapes, there is a risk that we lock ourselves into a vehicle platform that is not easily serviceable.
Field serviceability using local staff is one or our operational goals. We must be able to use our platform repeatedly without having to resort to a complicated and expensive return-to-base procedure should a surface become damaged, or a component become broken.
Again and again, we have to remind ourselves that we are not quite an aeroplane and not quite a van; from an engineering standpoint we have to be part of both – and that means creating a simple repeatable manufacturing design that can be serviced in the field. While we love as much as anyone else the flow of beautifully produced Photoshop drawings and 3-d animations of flying taxis, we are absolutely sure that this is not the way the industry can realise a hard-charging, revenue earning, usable technical system. We need a real does of hard-core Scottish practicality here; Sky Hopper has to be a friendly workhorse that “does a proper job” at acceptable cost.#
Capital fund-raising continues. We are making good progress towards our target for the next phase.