Students of Netaji Subhash University of Technology in Delhi have converted a Triumph Daytona 675 into a manned aerial vehicle but they are using it unmanned because of safety reasons. The project has been named Socorro. It is being developed by Sharma Sharma, Daksh Lakra and Saurav Vaid.
The aim of the students is to take it to the ariel height of 20 cm. They have been able to take it to a height of 5-7 cm till now. So, the prototype machine was able to produce enough thrust to take a lift. The students are pretty sure that it can take the weight of an adult. As of now, they have restricted the height to which the machine can fly for safety purposes.
The engine might be from the Daytona 675 but it has been tuned by Speedmonks. It is a three-cylinder, liquid-cooled engine that produces 115 hp of max power and 74 Nm of peak torque in its stock form. The engine has been retuned to produce 135 hp.
The chassis has been developed by the students themselves. It is made up of 6351 aerospace-grade aluminium and is a trellis frame. They chose aluminium because it is very light, durable and a bit expensive when compared to other metals. The total length of the chassis is 12 feet. It is so long because the propellers are also fitted to it. Meshing has been done so that jerks and shocks can be evenly distributed throughout the frame.
The front chassis does not have the same length as the rear chassis. This has been done intentionally so that the centre of mass falls exactly at the centre of the motorcycle. The bike still weighs 150 kgs whereas the chassis weighs 18 kgs. So, that is a total of 168 kgs.
The engine is mated to a belt drive type transmission which spins the propellers. The belts are sourced from Continental. Harley Davidsons use the same type of belts. 2 belts have been attached that transfer the power equally to the front propeller and the rear propeller.
The motorcycle achieves lift when the engine hit 6,000 to 7,000 rpm. The propellers are tri-blade wooden units. Both propellers are handcrafted. The team has experimented with smaller propellers but ended up on the current ones after several experiments and calculations.
Initially, the students thought that the project will take four months. In the first month, they would dismantle the motorcycle, the second month will be devoted to making the transmission, in the third month they will make the chassis and in the fourth month, they will assemble the propellers and stuff. However, now, it has been over a year and a half on this project.
The thought that they will end up investing Rs. 3-4 lakhs into the project but that amount of money was spent only on research and testing. Till now, they have now invested Rs. 14-15 lakhs into the project which includes the bike’s engine.
The bike is controlled through a remote control that is connected to the mobile phone. The throttle is also controlled through the same remote. However, because of some electronic issues, the motorcycle is not able to take a flight.