Every Star Wars fan, regardless of age or gender, has at one time or other fantasized about what it would be like to actually fly Han Solo’s iconic ship, the Millenium Falcon.
Fair enough. Some galaxy far far away seems like a bit of a hike from here, so what’s a groundstuck Terran to do? The Airhogs toys are pretty cool, but they still only have the profile of the Falcon, requiring massive holes in the hull to accomodate the rotors. This only looks like the Falcon if you’re a ways off, and you squint, and it still doesn’t fly the way the ship does in the movies.
Josh Bixler and the boys at FliteTest.com decided to take matters into their own hands. They decided to build their own flying Corellian YT-1300f light freighter, and then detailed it to look as much like the one in the movies as they could make it. This is the result: a quadrotor drone with canted lift rotors and a puller prop to provide the forward thrust needed to make it fly just like the “real thing”.
Bixler went to Disney World to Galaxy’s Edge to see the full scale Millenium Falcon, and came away with a ton of reference photos and a heartful of inspiration. Returning to the Flite Test HQ in Chico, California, he and designer Alex Zvada went about designing the hull and flight mechanics of the actual flying model.
Using Maker Board, they constructed first a prototype, then the fully detailed hull. Initial tests showed that while they could make it hover and move like a drone, they couldn’t get the forward momentum they wanted. Angling the lift rotors forward helped some, but the real flight dynamics started coming together when they added a puller prop to the front of the Falcon.
Watch the video; Bixler and Zvada even added a cockpit camera (and a pretty good looking cockpit) so they could fly the ship and get a pretty amazing pilot’s eye view as they flew the ship at high speed across fields, along roads, and even along a stream and under a bridge overpass!
We salute the insane imagination of the guys at FliteTest. Whether you’re a veteran RC hobbyist or an interested beginner, FliteTest not only sells all the specialty parts and supplies you need, but they have a STEM program for teaching the subject in schools and outreach programs, and even maintain an air park for enthusiasts, called Edgewater Airpark (currently closed due to the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic).
Visit their web site at FliteTest.com for more great videos and all the crazy stuff they build from scratch and put in the sky.
Keep ’em flying, guys.
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