Glider vs Flying Wings wich is better?

Hallo,I've start Aerial mapping using multicopter, it has very good result with the flexible landing spot, flying still, etc.But the problem is, what if i have bigger Area to cover?I'm interesting in fixed wings UAV.After some reading, I have a question.What is the benefit of each plane ( Glider oder Flying Wings ?)Glider like or Flying wings like http://www.questuav.com1. Payload ?2. Flexibility of Landing and Takeoff spot?3. Easily control?4. Better with Arduplane?My payload will be- APM- Sony NEX-7 with stabilizationThanks

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  • If people have news on the development of UAV for surveying or observation, please, continue the discussion. The craze is becoming greater.

  • Hi all,

    First of all, let me introduce myself because this is my first post on this forums. I'm the CEO of Novadrone. We design and create drones for civil applications, with them we provide photogrammetry and remote sensing services for several sectors like civil engineering, forestry or agriculture, mainly in South America.

    Secondly, let me thanks to all the open source community, because we have done all our flight tests and systems development with APM:Plane.

    On the topic, I would add two points. The first one is about efficiency. Talking about professional or commercial drones it is not so easy to find a commercial drone based in a flying wing most efficient (in Ha surveyed/flight time) than the Aeromapper from Aeromao (very good work Mauricio!) or our Nomad 300 with the same payload. You can use the trimble flight calculator to compare.

    This same point is related to security. Statistically, in all the civil aviation history, more than 60% of accidents occured in the take-off or landing stage. If you fly with Trimble you need more flights to survey the same area than with Aeromapper or our Nomad. More flights, more take-off and landings, more risks...

    Another point is about the term "rugged". When I think in rugged equipment for professionals, what it come to my mind is a Trimble GPS (it could be falling, you can pull it concrete, water, a hammer... and it will continue running). When I see a glider manufactured in kevlar and carbon fiber, for me it is near to this concept of "rugged" than EPO/EPP flying wings... them are easy to repair, but... are rugged?.

    Happy flying!


    • René Hello and thank you to revive this thread.

      Compared with all the points mentioned above, an important factor is the price. It is true that UAVs made of carbon or composite are probably strongest, but most UAVs manufactured in EPO / EPP are less expensive in case of crash and still strong enough. The MAJA is a very good UAV for the price, with an endurance of about 1h and easy to repair. At flying height of 120m, it is possible to have about 500ha of survey.


      René, you can contact me by private message if you have some interesting options to offer.

  • Frejus,

    Look at the X-UAV Talon.

    Definitely NOT "Toy-Looking", and a wing extension kit is forthcoming, carry more payload.

    I've only flown mine in manual and STAB so far, and have been pleasantly surprised by it's handling and performance.

    And by being EPP, easily repaired, well, small dings, in the field.

    And being "tailed", one probably could modify it for Flaps.

    Just my 2 cents......


  • Dwgsparky, I'd like to talk to you about your X5 setup if you don't mind. I've sent you a request. :)

  • I like the looks of Maja, just very expensive to get it in South Africa.

    Any airframe with a tailplane, or canard, is going to be easier, and more forgiving than a wing only design.

  • Here my 2 cent:

    If you really want to discuss efficiency, tailed designs are better. They need less wing area to carry the same weight, and you have an excelent performance with flaps, for short, easier and safer landing and takeoff. Less wing area means less drag, thus more efficiency. The flying wing planforms have an Coeficient of lift no better than 0.8 and tailed designs has more than 1.2. It means tailed designs carry more weight to drag, and are able to fly in a wider speed envelope. No wonder why all pylon racers are tailed. The flying wing Dynamic Soaring speed records are less than the half of the tailed designs. One of the biggest issues with flying wings is that when you pull up elevator, the wing's sections becomes reflexed, thus you lose a lot of your coeficient of lift. When you most need lift, the elevator kills it. Ok, solve it with more wing area. That comes with more drag.

    Then, why many people use flying wings? As said before, wings have the folowing advantages, important for UASs:

    1 - way easier to transport, with less parts, less volume and less fragile parts (as a tail, for example)

    2 - crash resistant - most of the UASs customers don't have good flying skills, if any. Landing an airplane weighting over 3-4 kilograms without a large landing track isn't that easy. It is much easier letting the wing land itself in circles (like the sensefly) over grass or cropfield. If you are to buy a mapping UAS for, let's say, between US$15-70 thousand dollars, you want something that won't be destroyed on a landing or failure on the first month of use. Even so, I've heard many light and safe sense-flys having the motor mount ripped off on landings.

    3 - safer to users etc. - the rear-mounting of the motor, and the lack of pinpointing nose means less danger in case of crash, both to people and property. Wings have more impact area, thus less damage to people and property.

    I'm a flying wings man, I've built many sweepback (like zagis) designs, small and big, and also planks, as gliders and powered models. A very "clean" flying wing will have very small drag. In my experience, planks carry much more weight, and are much safer on stalls. BUT they require much  finer CG adjustment, and are less yaw-stable on slow speeds than zagis.

    But for carrying payload, I still prefer tailed designs: lower the flaps 30 degrees, you have a very slow and sweet landing (you must be experienced with rudder control for the aproach, or you may experience tip-stall, and remember that with flaps on, drag skyrockets, then you need more throttle or more descent). This also lets you land in small places, with a shorter and steeper landing aproach, and takeoff and climb in shorter spaces, as well as faster.

    There is another advantage of the use of flaps: if you use tension hinges, or top hinges, you can deflect flaps at 80-90 degrees down, working as brakes. Take a look at F3J and F3K ladings with full flaps. On those light designs, I've seen 45-degree down pitch landing aproaches, without speeding up, than hand catching. Ok, with UASs that won't happen, but you can aproach landing in a very steep angle, slowly, than flare. No flying wing will do it, although some swept back wings may have flaps, they are functional only at the center section of the wing, not full span flaperons, like the examples above.

    But if I would develop a UAS for non-experienced pilots, I'd definitely go with a flying wing.

    Best regards,


  • Just out of curiosity, what kind of flight duration and range are people needing for your basic mapping missions?  

  • I use a flying wing glider, now what (no kidding!)?

  • All aircraft big or small, wing or conventional are compromises.  There is a thing called the envelope that means you stretch it one direction like payload and it shrinks in another like speed.  This is for all aircraft.

    For my task I will need a large aircraft in the three meter class with very high aspect ratio for efficiency so I can carry the required payload with the wing area given to me by the 14:1 A/R.  There have been glider flying wings with high A/R however they tended to not be as good as conventional glider due to lack of longtitudel control authority.  On Martin Heppele's site ( who was an authority on flying wings and designed the airfoils that are used on a lot of model flying wings, is the limitations of the F3B wings that came out in the 80s. The problems were difficulty on the zoom power launches required for F3B and they fell out of favour and there are now no wings in the competition even with their theoretical advantages.

    However wings can be compact and have a large payload for their size and if they are foam can be indestructable.  They can also be difficult to launch in larger sizes if they are pushers as the propellor can be dangerous.  For mapping operations rather than FPV tractor flying wings would be far more practical and easy to launch.  i do not know why all the wings made for mapping have to be pushers.

    I don't think I could launch a 3 meter pusher flying wing.  However a 3 meter plane like these from Art-Hobby -

    is by comparison easy to launch and has a wide speed range using flaps.  Flying wings do not take flaps very well so it is difficult to do camber changing for multi-task events.  I would like to have a bit of reflex in my large glider to cover ground fast whereas a wing needs reflex to fly.

    I am currently thinking of strapping an aeromapper style pod onto the glider I linked to.

This reply was deleted.


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