Udrones, which has been selling ready-to-fly ArduCopters for a while, is now also selling a ready-to-fly ArduPlane. APM assembled, ArduPlane code loaded and everything tested. Just add your own RC gear. $995.
Well at $1200 (with xbees) it seems a crazy price but for new users to both flying and uav it is an opprounity to avoid a whole lot of learning :)
Wow $1000 bucks, well at least it looks cool.
@David: If this is the Bixler (most likely) what is wrong with it? It is the perfect plane for the kind of first time costumer most likely to get a ArduPlane RTF kit. Flies like a dream, great build quality (foam quality and parts fit) and is easy to repair. The included prop as you said is noisy, but takes a beating because it flexes. What would you recommend as a better alternative for the beginners wanting to test out UAV? Many people have the interest, but not the background needed or time available to research and build a UAV setup the traditional way. So the only solution for them is to throw money at the problem.
Very simply the stock bixler has a number of flaws.
(1) Lack of a strong carbon rod in between the wings. The included carbon rod will crack if you stare at it too hard.
(2) Prop. The stock prop is a very poor in relation to the 2.49$ 6x4 prop that you can buy at any hobby store. If you will examine the machine produced by @Sgt. Ric who praises this item you will certainly note that he personally does not use the stock prop and has also replaced it. It is very noisy and inefficient.
(3) Lack of carbon spars added to the the craft. There are 3 additional places a stock bixler needs carbon spars. Two on the tail and one going along the fuselage. These make a huge difference in the flight characteristics. Especially, when you are carrying heavy equipment like FPV gear or APM gear.
(4) Lack of a rudder mod. The rudder on the stock bixler is completely superfluous. You can either just not use it or you can mod it to make it larger to make it effective.
(5) Lack of extreme packing tape or wrap. The stock bixler nose and underside will be torn apart in a few standard belly landings if it is not covered in a wrap. I use extreme packing tape, but I can assure you that this craft will be sold sans any form of wrap. As of now I can pitch my bixler at a wall and the nose will be unharmed. If it was not wrapped prior to flight even a minor nose in landing will lead to the entire nose of the plane coming apart. The only way you can prevent this is to either manually catch it every time or perform a perfect landing. This propensity for the nose to crack will also lead to the electronics pod being destroyed. I have an FPV pod that I could post pictures of to prove this, as they are made of the exact same material.
(6) Lack of wing holding mods. There are numerous wing holding mods. Some people embed magnets in the wing. Other people use rubber bands and 3M hooks. If a wing holding mod isn't use the plane can have its wings pull out of their sockets in flight. If glue is used transportation becomes a problem and rough landings become much rougher and repairs also become harder.
My objection let me be clear is not to the use of bixler. If was going to spend 1000$ I would personally like a 300$ Maja (http://fpv-community.com/testblog/2010/borjet-maja-uav/).
My objection is to a 1000$ price tag for what amounts to pre-soldered electronics which you can get for from udrones for about $400? combined with 50$ worth of laser cut wood and a 75$ shipped hobbyking unmodified plane should now be obvious.
For 1000$ dollars and bixler platform I expect FPV and APM and at least a basic remote and receiver. As it stands now it is in my estimation it is about 300-400$ overcosted even for a rich guy/gal giving them a healthy 600-700$ for everything.. Also, it's going to be wreaked in the first crash. Trust me. No wrap = epic crash damage for a newb.
In very simple terms so I don't look like a mad RC pilot who expects everything for nothing ..... I re-read my last post and decided to condense it.
The APM electronics these guys are putting together has a "value added service" in terms that it requires soldering and uploading of software the former of which can be quite daunting and requires tools. The building of the APM pod (that wooden thing that holds the hardware) has a value of at most 40$ sold unassembled and about 80$ sold assembled (ref. ready made RC). The plane then has a cost of about 75$ and then let's charitably add about 10$ added in added assembly costs. This means that on top of pre-soldered APM hardware you have a maximum of about ~170$ max. added to original price of the APM hardware, which someone posted as being purchasable independently at a cost of ~530$. This means that including value added service the total cost of this machine including a healthy profit margin should be about 700$ + shipping. Also, normally when you get a package deal you get a discount. Where is the 300$????
I concur with DAvid, the package is a little expensive. They're probably calculating a healthy profit margin into it. But, hey I guess, indirectly the hardware is funding the open source software development. Whoever believes that open source is free is naive. One way or other, it's being paid for. Even if programmers don't get paid, the time they spend, is subsidised by their day jobs.
I like the the looks of the setup and just put in an order. I purchase a quad copter from these guys and they provided great support. Yes, I did not spend the hours building the quad, but without this route, I would never be part of this community. I could never spend the time right now due to my travel schedule to build one from scratch. I have fixed my and rebuild it 4 times due to crashes, and could do a quad now.
This will be my first plane and looking forward to getting flying in a single weekend and developing experience by fixing the crashes. Not the cheapest way to do it, but no real other options for me.
Thanks for doing this setup guys. I would think that the more folks flying this platform, the cheaper it will become for everyone
i think one should understand that technical man power is very expensive in america. to put things together in san diego , california, DIY drones have to hire people at high hourly rates (may be 40$ an hour). volumes of production right now are not high enough to justify low prices. but eventually prices would be lower as the production rises. you should undersatnd that this blog is a DIY blog, DO-IT-YORSELF. the assembled planes are only for those who are new to processor electornics and who are new to model aeroplanes flight theory. so be happy, assemble yourself and in the process learn more. ravi, india
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