Does a low cost FPV/Aerial photography/long range kit exist?

Hello everyone!


My question is quite simple yet complex.  Does anyone have suggestions or ideas for a low cost reconnaissance drone build?

I have a budget of $800, a good amount of ingenuity and a C130 load of willpower.


Your tips, ideas or help are greatly appreciated and I will be updating this thread with my current progress, up to its maiden flight.


My project constraints

  • Around $800
  • Fixed wing
  • Must use APM
  • Must be able to carry a DSLR camera and/or FPV camera
  • Must have at least a 1 mile range for all radios
  • Project time limit of 2 months (08/05/2013)

My wish list

  • Gas powered (I have lots of chainsaw and weed-eater engines)
  • High stability (South Texas tends to have nasty winds)
  • High survivability (nothing makes a grown man cry more than broken balsa)
  • More flight time! (don't we all wish for it?)


I will be doing as much R&D as I can and I will be keeping you all updated.

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As of this moment I am focusing on identifying my telemetry options.    Is it possible to route APM via IP?

I may have a few open box rocket m5 units in my warehouse.

With that thought, good night.

No doubt:, is your answer.

Jeff Taylor, company founder, is far the best solution. Maybe with a little higher budget.

Just talk with Jeff!


The solutions over at event38 do seem nice, however I want this to be as hands on as possible.   Kits are OK, but I just need to find a good airframe...

Ah, ok. Understand.

Another tip of airframe:

- Hugin (

- Telemaster 6' (

Good luck!

Those airframes are a good idea however they are WAY out of our total budget of $800.

The Hugin seems to be the perfect solution, however with a price tag of $360 for the frame, I would like to DIY.

Considering I have lots of foam, carbon fiber and resin, I may have to give it a try.

Question: Anything like that Hugin at a lower price?

I also need help for upgrading parts or if i'm doing it wrong or right for aerial video productions/photo, here is my set up:

I have similar wants.

One way save some $$ on the budget is to built a kit yourself. This plane flies excellent and is very light for it's size which lends itself nicely to a large fuel tank and equipment. I have the smaller version the Seniorita with a Saito 56 running off a 12 oz fuel tank. At cruise speed of aprox 45 mph / half throttle it runs for 50 minutes. To be safe I'd plan 35 minutes. That's still a boat load of video. This Sig kit is very well designed and builds easy.

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