Most quadcopters have their propeller blades all on the same level, or in some cases, a pair of blades placed a little above the other pair.

However, I was wondering if three propellers of a quadcopter can be put on the same level and the other propeller a little lower. Would it just make the quadcopter inefficient?

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    $\begingroup$ To clarify, are you asking about a layout where a single propeller is in the center of the drone, and three other propellers are sticking out in a triangle shape? $\endgroup$ – zymhan Mar 27 '19 at 15:38

There are designs with overlapping blades. It's all a tradeoff on space, structure, clean aerodynamics, efficient aerodynamics, etc. This is the Malloy Hoverbike, for example.

enter image description here

So you can definitely have them at different levels, and you can even definitely have them overlap. If the 3 rotors' flow is not involved substantially with the 4th rotor's (not too big a difference in height), it should be no big deal.

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    $\begingroup$ The OP specifically mentioned a pair of blades higher and a pair lower, which your Hoverbike example shows. He's asking about 3 of the 4 being at level 1 and the 4th being at level 2. $\endgroup$ – FreeMan Mar 27 '19 at 15:06
  • $\begingroup$ The OP didn't mention an overlapping set, which was the point of the picture (all kinds of configurations possible). Updated answer to address your comment. $\endgroup$ – MikeY Mar 27 '19 at 15:22

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