Within a quadcopter, I know usually it's all the propellers facing upwards or all of them facing downwards. Why hasn't anyone tried making two propellers facing upwards and the other two facing downwards? Do some forces cancel out and renders that method ineffective?


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    $\begingroup$ Do you mean two propellers each attached to one shaft, or still four propellers each attached to its own shaft? (A simple illustration of what you have in mind might help.) What do you feel the benefits of this construction would be? $\endgroup$ – a CVn Nov 14 '18 at 18:32
  • $\begingroup$ Because it increases construction and maintenance cost and gives no benefit? I am guessing nobody simply has been able to think of a reason to do it. $\endgroup$ – Ville Niemi Nov 14 '18 at 18:57

People have done that.

And it works.

They do it because it's one of the logical configuration for a quadcopter based VTOL plane.


enter image description here

  • $\begingroup$ Who makes that plane? I want one! $\endgroup$ – Robert DiGiovanni Nov 18 '18 at 16:06
  • $\begingroup$ @RobertDiGiovanni It's DIY. The plane itself is a Hobbyking Bixler (hobbyking.com). Probably using a KK2 or Ardupilot or some other open-source controller with the software modified to support VTOL transition. If you go to the VTOL forum on RCGroups (rcgroups.com) you can probably find the project or something similar $\endgroup$ – slebetman Nov 19 '18 at 1:57
  • $\begingroup$ Brilliant, can not say enough praise. A full scale could feather one set and/or fly with much lower power draw. $\endgroup$ – Robert DiGiovanni Nov 19 '18 at 2:03

The elegance and simplicity of a quad-copter design lies in how it achieves control in all axis with simple variation of engine power (and thus speed) using just simple fixed-pitch rotors:

  • varying power to the forward pair of rotors compared to the aft pair controls pitch
  • varying power to the left pair of rotors compared to the right pair control roll
  • varying power to the clockwise spinning pair compared to the counter-clockwise spinning pair control yaw (this means the rotors placed diagonally spin in the same direction)

These commands work independently if all the rotors generate the same lift and torque for the same power. They also need to be laid out in a square or not too narrow rectangle. And the easiest way to achieve that is if both the rotors and their mounts are all identical (except for mirroring for counter-rotation).


Does not really matter if they are facing up or down, it matters how they are pitched and what direction they are spinning. All 4 with the same orientation is a good common sense approach to a quadcopter, though you can have opposite spinning pairs to cancel torque. This is common on twin engine aircraft.

How ever, notice in a helicopter the tail rotor is tilted 90 degrees out of plane with the main rotor to control yaw torque from the main rotor.

And there is nothing to say you can not have more than 4 rotors, if you find an application where more is better. Really a matter of matching (any) available technology that can be practically applied to the idea.

There might be slight differences in performance up vs down due to air circulation interferences near the prop, so the safer bet is to keep the design consistant, but 2 up and 2 down is not outside the realm of possible.

  • $\begingroup$ On a quad-copter you must have couter-rotating pairs. Otherwise you'd need an anti-torque rotor and that would no longer be the quad-copter layout. $\endgroup$ – Jan Hudec Nov 14 '18 at 22:10

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