I wanted to take a design from inception to final polish using the collective wisdom of my social network – soliciting comments on Facebook, Instagram and Reddit to help choose what direction the design would take. Obviously, for personal projects, I am usually the final arbiter of taste, so this was a refreshing exercise to let other voices dictate how a design evolved.
The initial design was very clearly leaning to a sort of cigar-with-wings shape, probably influenced in part by an early drone aircraft I had seen once at the Smithsonian, so I took a few of the better doodles and cleaned them up…
… And used them as a springboard into a whole set of variations on the theme. These rough sketches were posted to social media, leaving it to the collective wisdom of the internet to choose a favourite design.
And the most popular version (by only a couple of votes!) was this sexy swept-wing craft. I personally love the idea of Burt Rutan-style fixed landing gear in an aerodynamic cowl, so it was exciting to be able to develop this concept futher.
With the basic design locked down, I started refining it with a series of plan drawings. The details and finish of the design were inspired by the groundbreaking experimental aircraft of the 1950s and 60s; the aircraft that broke the first ground of the Space Race. All bare metal finishes and sleek, dart-like profiles.
The airbrake mechanism took quite a bit of research to get right:
And finally, a sunset shot: