Aircraft

World's first manned aerobatic drone shown pulling loops and rolls

World's first manned aerobatic...
This full-sized aerobatic multicopter can carry a passenger and pull extreme aerobatic tricks – just not at the same time – not yet, anyway
This full-sized aerobatic multicopter can carry a passenger and pull extreme aerobatic tricks – just not at the same time – not yet, anyway
View 8 Images
This full-sized aerobatic multicopter can carry a passenger and pull extreme aerobatic tricks – just not at the same time – not yet, anyway
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This full-sized aerobatic multicopter can carry a passenger and pull extreme aerobatic tricks – just not at the same time – not yet, anyway
View from the cockpit mid-roll
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View from the cockpit mid-roll
Drone Champions founder Herbert Weirather prepares to step in for a manned flight
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Drone Champions founder Herbert Weirather prepares to step in for a manned flight
Aerobatic flights were performed over Croatia
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Aerobatic flights were performed over Croatia
A carbon-framed 12-rotor coaxial multicopter
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A carbon-framed 12-rotor coaxial multicopter
That's a dummy pilot on board
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That's a dummy pilot on board
The first passenger-sized aerobatic multicopter
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The first passenger-sized aerobatic multicopter
Keep your sick bags handy
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Keep your sick bags handy
View gallery - 8 images

This racy-looking 12-rotor coaxial multicopter has been filmed in Croatia pulling extreme rolls and loops, and carrying a human on board. Not at the same time, mind you, but still, to see a drone of this size pulling stunts like this is astonishing.

Built by Drone Champions AG, in order to promote its Drone Champions League video game, this is a full-sized, full carbon airframe with six arms extending outwards from an aerodynamically faired chassis, each with a pair of coaxial rotors mounted at the ends. A central seat can carry a passenger – not a pilot, as this drone is built to be flown from the ground by trained drone racing pilots over remote control.

The team took the "Big Drone," as it's called, to Vrsar, in Croatia, to put it through some extreme maneuvers, and a Red Bull detachment followed to film and photograph the event. With a dummy passenger on board, the team performed a bunch of wild aerobatic maneuvers, including extravagant rolls and loops, the likes of which we've never seen in a multicopter this large.

Keep your sick bags handy
Keep your sick bags handy

Afterwards, it was time to put Drone Champions founder Herbert Weirather on board, for a shorter, safer and much more sedate hover low to the ground. That's probably for the best. Safety issues aside, those loops and rolls look like they'd be a stomach-churning experience from the passenger seat.

"We have developed and built the first-ever manned aerobatic drone with the vision to create a brand-new future racing experience and to recruit drone pilots through DCL – The Game," says Drone Champions founder and CEO, Herbert Weirather. "Everyone should have the opportunity to fly, and DCL – The Game provides a starting point."

There's no word as yet on whether the team plans to do manned aerobatic flights, and we suspect it'll remain that way for a while. But it's clear the machines can do it, leaving just the safety considerations to be taken care of.

Check out the full video below, much of which has no sound.

Aerobatic manned drone flights - rolls and loops

Source: Red Bull

View gallery - 8 images
8 comments
guzmanchinky
Amazing! But why not allow a pro pilot to do these stunts with plenty of altitude, and if the machine fails have a ballistic parachute or two on hand?
buzzclick
They're wise to take their time developing this drone. All it takes is one crash (and death) and their project would be seriously set back. In time, plenty of pilots will line up to get a piece of this action, and it will be an amazing (and noisy) spectacle to see a bunch of them racing, like an F1 competition in the sky.
Thud
Eventually these will be incredibly cheap. Even with high end flight controls and flight safety computers. I can see this as a special forces tool in the near future
John Hagen-Brenner
I think the CIA and NSA could use the RC version as an interrogation device! I think I'd start confessing straight away.
JeffK
An entire eight plus minute video without an obnoxious music sound track; they deserve an award for that alone! Very cool tech, drones are opening a new "Golden Age" of flight.
ljaques
Cool. Now to get a course with firefighter jumper air bags covering the surface for pilot safety. Making them rotor blade resistant could prove interesting. They appear to be strong enough to be fast. I look forward to watching some of the races.
Graeme S
maybe the existing helicopter can compete ... https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cygAagLbT6o
Towerman
What ???? Is there no way i can sign up to be the pilot !! ?
C'mon.... you've gotta be kidding me ! ! ! !
Let the Races BEGIN !