First off, we want to thank the great DIYDrones, Amateur UAV, and RC community. Without your guys input and support, a project like this wouldn't be possible.
The Albatross airframe has undergone many aerodynamic, structural, and aesthetic changes. Most recent changes include, reduced airframe weight, increased wingspar strength, and carbon fiber landing gear. (The landing gear helped reduce over all drag and weight, as well as increase ground stability and landing gear strength, helping to extend unprepared surface operation.)
Among structural testing, we are also ensuring that the real world data (see yarn attached in various locations) we are collecting coincides with our computer assisted (aerodynamic) theoretical design. So far, after careful analysis of flow conditions over the wing, fuselage, and body intersections, we are very pleased.
We are structurally testing this airframe well beyond (what will be) our rated limits. We want to ensure that the product we release is solid and will perform at the maximum quoted specifications for the entire lifetime of the aircraft. We have been testing at a Useful load fraction in excess of 0.66 (66%), so we can ensure reliable daily use in excess of 0.58 (58%).
The Albatross has been flown in winds exceeding 20kts and gusting, at runway-relative angles greater than 45 degrees (crosswind). Impressively, the airframe handles it quite well. We are doing our best to flight test airframe-characteristics in less than desirable conditions to ensure mission success.
The flights in this video were all under manual control. The main reasoning is to ensure that our feel of the airframe is not affected by the stabilization of an autopilot. Also, this allows us to put the aircraft into maneuvers that an autopilot wouldn't (currently) be able to cope with. During manual testing, we push the limits of stall and post stall maneuvering, as well as high positive and negative G loadings, while testing wing structure, and air flow.
In addition to the airframe, we have been working on a very exciting PC-based, dual 1000 nit screen (daylight readable) ground station. The ground station will incorporate Telemetery and video receiver inputs, external video inputs and outputs, external USB inputs, an internal battery system as well as a complete power supply and charger. These are only a couple of the features this awesome little machine will offer. Stay tuned for more news on this!
In other news, we will soon be announcing a fun contest which will offer up an award and allow the community to play a role in the airframe design process! Once again, stay tuned for more info!
Justin, On behalf of the entire Applied Aeronautics Team.