So after having made multiple autonomous flights, from my home to my parents (10km) and from my home to the rc-club (5km), Some clubmembers got my head crazy and kinda challenged me to cross the English Channel autonomously. But heck, I want my plane back, so I'll be crossing the Channel AND going BACK.
The idea seemed crazy enough at first, but I couldn't get it out of my head and started doing the math (and the $$$ math).
I read about some long distance fpv flights, so there should be airframes capable of such distances. After quite some thought, reading and consulting, the choise fell on the skywalker X8. Total grounddistance to cover is about 70km, but to account for some crosswind and other unforseen circumstances, I wanted a range of 100km.
To make a long story short, my X8 covered a total distance of 102km in 1 flight a few weekends back, complete with onboard video, video transmitter for fpv, minimOSD and telemetry. I still had a little juice left in the batteries when I landed. This flight was for the most part flown with my rc transmitter off (simulated out of rc range). Telemetry was always on (in range) but I have successfully flown with telemetry disconnected and groundmodule ID changed (simulated out of range telemetry)
Now the only thing keeping me from realising my challenge is legislation. I'm a technical guy, so this is not my strongpoint. Has anyone got some info how to tackle this? Should I contact French and English air traffic authorities ? Would I be likely to get permission ?
I plan to fly 97% over sea at an altitude of 100m. At that height I don't think I pose a threat to any ships nor any airplanes. Anything else I should consider regarding safety ? I think the biggest risk I take is losing my plane, which is ofcourse a risk I'm willing to take, but any comments are welcome!
I've uploaded a Tlog file of my 102km flight to droneshare : droneshare 102km flight
Please disregard the total flighttime on droneshare. Flighttime was 90 minutes, not 229 minutes as is mentioned on droneshare.
I have found an online weather report for a calais buoy so I can check for a day where wind conditions are favorable (not to much wind and not too cross)
Ofcourse if anyone from England is reading this and is willing to lend a hand by standing watch and giving me a call when he sees the plane, or maybe even have a pc with telemetry to follow the plane if it gets out of my range, I'll be happy to keep him(her) in the loop. Maybe Martin from http://www.buildyourowndrone.co.uk/ would be interested in giving me a hand ?
Any further advice to help me complete the challenge sucessfully is welcome !