Engineering Students Build a Personal Flying Machine in Singapore

Shaunacy Ferro

For centuries, humans have daydreamed about flying like a bird. Now, a group of engineering students at the National University of Singapore want to make those dreams a reality with a personal flying machine.

Eight students working in FrogWorks, a university program focused on making eco-friendly vehicles for recreation, have built a working flying machine prototype that can carry a 155-pound person for up to five minutes. The device can take flight thanks to the power of 24 motors, each one turning a 2.5-foot diameter propeller, and works on three rechargeable batteries. The pilot is harnessed into a seat in the center of the craft, and has to steer it and adjust the pitch and roll. But the system does have a few automated flight modes, similar to those used in UAVs.

The design and construction process took just two semesters, and the engineers hope to take it commercial one day. However, the team doesn’t imagine you’ll be taking it to work anytime soon. “NUS’ Snowstorm shows that a personal flying machine is a very real possibility, primarily as a means to fulfill our dreams of flying within a recreational setting,” project supervisor Joerg Weigl of the National University of Singapore said in a press release. Essentially, it’s like a flying golf cart. One that we would like to test out immediately. 

Banner image screenshot via YouTube