I'm kind of a n00b, and I'd like to build a Y6 hexacopter to learn with, but also with the intention of using to help my local first responders (rural fire/rescue and SAR in mountainous Colorado). I was intrigued by the eye3 Kickstarter project, though I know it was not legit.

A buddy of mine built an AeroQuad a couple of years ago, and I got him turned onto the APM2, which he and I ordered a few weeks ago. We're about 400 order numbers away from the currently-shipping APM2s. He's going to retrofit it into his AQ. I'm designing from scratch.

My main goals are:

Portable (aircraft and ground station can be backpacked to launch site)

Video transmission for recon use for fire and SAR.

Longest flight time practical (long distances here)

Possibility of carrying a heavy camera (FLIR or HD/DSLR) on a gimbal.

Possibility of carrying small cargo (medical/comms supplies) to be dropped.

I'm leaning towards a foldable Y6 to get the power and motor redundancy. Quads don't seem to have enough power and can't survive a motor failure. Octos are getting pretty big. Y6s are foldable and X6s are not.

I plan to put together an initial build to test out the design and then replace or upgrade components until I get what I need.

My initial parts manifest is here:

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc?key=0Av5GwEwZRJE1dHRCOEhzdW...

I'm going with the Jetfun Scorpion Y6 discussed extensively here:
http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1528728

and built here:

http://lab.westernwillow.com/model/fleet/503 

I may have some of the eCalc factors wrong, like motor resistance and no-load current. But I get results of 5.31 minutes full power flight and 13.77min of hover (no payload) on a 3.56 pound aircraft with a 6400mAh battery. See attached PDF.

Static thrust calc (if I used it correctly) http://personal.osi.hu/fuzesisz/strc_eng/index.htm gives me about 4.29 pounds per motor. I know on a Y6 this will be reduced from 6x4.29=25.74lbs.

It seems like I should be able to do better than this. I'd like to be able to tune this, and would welcome any advice from anyone about doing so.

I'd really like the capability to ferry a short-range (FRS-type) radio and basic medical supplies (bandage, pain meds, etc) up to an injured hiker on an inaccessible rock face, and be able to scout a route for the SAR team. Or, haul and drop a length of 1/8" Spectra line across a frozen lake to someone who has fallen through the ice. Or scout a smoke report in rough terrain to see if it's campers cooking marshmallows, a creeping grass fire, or something about to torch 20,000 acres.

If anyone has an idea of a basic "cargo hook" like we use on full size helicopters, that'd be cool. I've not seen one for RC size helos.

For my own uses, I'd like to be able to do orthophotography and assemble orthomosaics.

Would love to hear your suggestions.

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