I am very new but want to jump right in as soon as possible. My prime interest at the moment is vertical still photography (mapping, etc.) and I would like to order a fixed wing UAV and go from there. It will be a learning platform that I hope to use commercially at some point. Two models that were recommended are the X8 and MAJA and I am hoping to get some suggestions for which might be better or recommendations for another unit.
My needs are:
1. Stability in flight.
2. Performance and stability in windy conditions
3. Payload (both seem to have enough)
4. Width to handle 120mm camera pointed downward. I'm thinking Sony NEX7.
Thanks for any advice.
To fit an NEX series camera sideways you may be forced into the flying wing option. The Maja fuselage is only a hair over 120mm wide so you'd have to cut out a lot of the side walls to get it to fit which may weaken that area a little too much. With such a big lens you'll also need to find a way to keep the camera as high in the body as possible and maybe a retractable lens cover. Plus you'll need a way to trigger the camera automatically if the NEX doesn't have a time lapse function which I've found most cameras do not have. I think both planes cover the rest of your criteria well enough.
If you really want to get going right away then consider starting out with my RTF mapping plane the E382. That stitched image of the park was taken with a relatively inexpensive Canon S95. Everything is kept simple so it'll get you going quickly.
Thanks very much. Starting with your plane is something I will consider. Are you in the US? Just thinking about shipping. Regarding the X8 flying wing, I have seen a couple of comments from people who say they don't like the fact it is foam but I'm not sure why. Could it be because it can be damaged easily? Or perhaps it can do more damage?
My camera does not have to be a NEX7. I chose that as a starting point because it is high resolution and would accept a leica lens that I have.
Thanks, yes I am in the US.
I think foam works quite well.. it's easy to make adjustments, easy to repair and pretty difficult to damage. Foam would also do less damage to whatever it hits if it were to crash. If you wanted to fly really fast or do high-G stunts it would be better to have something stiff like glass or carbon fiber but for the slow flying we do for mapping, foam is great.
Maybe you don't need to start with such a big (and pretty expensive) camera then, consider that there may be a bit of a learning curve before you can be pretty sure you won't crash or land it in a tree.
Good advice. Looking forward to the learning curve! :-)
Good luck! Happy to help if you run into any issues.
I've got a few questions about your E382:
1.) How is the camera triggered, and is the data that is logged tagged to each image for easier orthorectification?
2.) What kind of telemetry system are you offering as an addon?
3.) What is the range of the telemetry system?
4.) If the range is about 40km (1 hour @ 40kph), can the plane be programmed to fly out about 16 km, and then return home? Let's say we wanted to map a highway or a river, and not a square grid
5.) What mission planner is used with this plane?
I'll answer your questions by number:
1) The camera is automatically triggered by a script in the camera. The images aren't currently being geotagged, they can be orthorectified usually with optical data only.
2) I'm offering the 3DR Radio telemetry kit as an add on
3) The 3DR Telemetry kit range is in general a few kilometers but it depends a lot on what type of antenna you use and the RF environment where you're using it.
4) Yes it could be used in that way although regulations require the plane to be within visual line of sight at all times.
5) Any of the mission planners from DIY Drones can be used but the most supported one now is the APM Mission planner available here (called just Mission Planner in the download section)
I'm from Brazil and here, we use UAV's for Agricultural mapping, so, we need to generate products with several resolutions, according to the crop in the field.
Based on it, I also have some doubts about your E382
1 - Which overlap can we get with your equipment? Can be adjusted?
2 - Can we define the area to be mapped by shapefile or KML?
3 - The images will be taken by waypoint or time?
4 - Flight direction can be adjusted in respect to the wind?
5 - IR Cameras can be used?? as Tetracam ADC-lite?
Thanks in advance,
Guilherme S. Jorge Giorgi
I'll respond in order to your questions:
1/3) The images are taken at a set interval of time, at shortest about 2.5 seconds. Getting 50% overlap isn't an issue except down-wind legs when the wind is strong; flying sideways to the wind solves this but requires less space between each pass
2) The area to map must be set up in the Mission Planner software which may at some point have the feature you request but for now you need to define the area as a polygon in the Mission Planner itself
4) Yes the flight direction can be defined
5) Tetracam ADC Lite fits perfectly in the payload bay, it can be used