I wish to develop a platform for geophysical work. The problem is that suitable geophysical receivers are copper coils with a weight in excess of 5kg - with ancillary electronics the total payload would likely be 10kg.

In addition, an air coil receiver would need the largest possible cross sectional area to be carried horizontally, whilst a ferrite core receiver would be a longish (0.6 m) cylinder to be carried vertically.

Model airplanes are generally smaller than this, whilst ultralights/para-gliders are considerably larger. Does anyone have any suggestions for a suitable airframe to get started with?

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How would it scan the surface? If fast motion is not a requirement, use a tethered aerostat:
I initially considered a helium blimp, and will likely use one for development of the geophysical receiver system by simply dragging the blimp around by hand on a tether - the slow motion is advantageous for time domain receivers. The problem I see is that the blimp is too large to transport filled with helium and will need to be inflated for each use - deployment in windy conditions may also be a problem.

I then investigated para-glider or powered hang glider type platforms, which are easily transported - but a down scaled model would be required. The final application will require the platform to complete a grid survey unmanned.
look into these http://www.seabreezeparachutes.com

larger ones can easiely carry your payload at ,one time i was looking at one that was i think 4 m and would loft a 20 kg payload above the weight of the platform
Thanks - looks like a possibility, although difficult to find technical specifications on their website. Any ideas on what power is needed to drive these? and how accurately they can be controlled as an UAV?

Somewhere I read a figure of 75W/kg for a traditional airframe - presumably the figure is higher for para-gliders?
Is this product to be used by the government of Zimbabwe?
that site is just for an example i do know that simiular para`s have been in use as motion picture camera platforms and even with gas powerplants they offer a good stable image platform they do however have a weakness, ambient wind speed anything over 15 Mph is unflyable, as for AUV someone posted here his small model with an Ardupilot for control using one servo and throttle to control it but he made only one post

run a search on powered parachute (PPC) and you will have filter it down but what you are looking for is out there

they are really easy to control (throttle controls alttuide and "wing" deformation controls direction , lose motive power and it becomes a guided parachute)so i dont see why it will not work well knowing the limitation of wind speed
Try http://www.aerovate.com/ this sUAV should be able to accommodate the payload you are talking about...(as long as its not in the service of Bob and his cronies) ; )
No - not for Bob! I am a consulting geophysicist - most of my work is siting of boreholes (well points.)
No - I am a consulting geophysicist - most of my work is currently for various aid organizations and NGO's
The other alternative is a powered hang-glider - perhaps a semi rigid delta wing will be more easily controlled than a parafoil?

Also appears that parafoils may be difficult to build and adjust correctly - anyone have any experience here?
kite LTA systems - I hope - will be optinal for the geophysical work. For ex. - as that: http://www.allsopphelikites.com...
Also usual tethered balloons - chip and simple way do your work (see as that: http://dkba.ru - russian aeronautic tech. company [site in russian, use web-translater for it]...)
Thanks for the links - I will likely use a tethered balloon of some sort during development of the geophysical components. I have two reservations with respect use in the field (but this may still be the way to go.)

- the balloon will be too large to transport, and must be inflated at each locality (I am often asked to visit 4 localities in one day), and
- it will be difficult to navigate with the tether through thick bush or forest.

I think that a portable airframe would be best - suggestions have been powered para-foils, and powered hang gliders (trikes). The remaining question appears to be: is a purely fabric wing or a semi rigid wing better for this application?

The desired requirements for the UAV:

- 10 kg payload
- transportable in a pick-up (or trailer)
- 30 - 35 km/hr
- 3 hour flight time
(this would enable sections at 10m centers over a 1 km square)

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