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54-propeller superdrone lifts off with a person inside

It took 54 propellers for the Swarm superdrone to get off the ground with a human passenger along for the exciting ride.

I've looked at little quadcopter drones and thought, "Gosh, if I could just shrink down to mouse size, that would be a lot of fun to ride around on."

YouTube user gasturbine101 apparently looked at a drone and thought, "I could harness the power of a million drones and use them as my personal flying chariot." And he did, except it took just 54 propellers to get the job done.

The Swarm is a manned superdrone, so named because it looks like a herd of little drones all strapped together to make one big flying machine. There's a seat at the center for the operator to sit and control the device.

Swarm superdrone

It's not a drone, it's a superdrone.

Video screenshot by Amanda Kooser/CNET

The take-off weight for the Swarm with a person on board was about 326 pounds (148 kilograms). A video of the Swarm in flight shows it getting off the ground by quite a few feet, enough to make the camera operator shout, "Be careful!"

It hovers and bounces back down for temporary landings. It looks at least mildly terrifying, though the pilot is wearing a helmet.

The Swarm can run for about 10 minutes on its battery packs, which appear to be distributed around the machine along with the propellers.

Gasturbine101 posted an initial test-flight video, without the rider, about two months ago. In that video, the drone was controlled from a distance. Now the controls are on board. The finished superdrone video with air jockey was posted August 29.

This is a good time to issue all the usual warnings that accompany gawking at an unusual and potentially dangerous DIY project. Don't try this at home. You would probably need to check with your governmental aviation regulations organization anyway. Plus, there's that whole possibility of falling out of the sky. That wouldn't be much fun at all.

(Via Reddit)