Long Endurance

I want to build a fixed wing drone with the longest possible endurance possible. I'm thinking electric pusher(for aerial video) with solar panels and alternator(s) to charge the batteries. I have very little experience in building fixed wings but have extensive experience with multi and single rotors. And also with aerial video/photography. It can be over 55lbs, since im willing to get FAA experimental licencing for it. Im also planing on using an airport hangar so it should be large enough to be seen by small aircraft such as cessnas. The wingspan should also be around 30-40ft. And if we have to go to a gas motor, it would have to be an aviation motor being able to use AA or Jet-A fuel.

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  • Hi Matt,

    I just wanted to point out that in my opinion, your notion of building a larger craft to increase safety is flawed.

    You are vastly more likely (by some huge order of magnitude) to have your plane crash due to pilot or mechanical error than have a mid-air collision with another craft.

    The mass of your craft will generally be proportional to the cube of its size.  The cruising speed will also go up.  That means the total energy in the impact with the ground for a plane twice as big will be around 8-20 times as great.  That will make it much more likely to harm or kill people and damage property.

    I understand that safety is a concern for you, I also believe it's the concern of most people here and why you've seen some strong reactions. Please don't fly anything of significant size over people or their property.

    Starting small will be much safer in practice and I'm sure you'll learn things along the way.

  • T3


    I am not a moderator, but these sorts of comments should not be welcome here. That is a downright attack. I don't know how long you have been on DIYD, but this sort of thread is extremely common, and lets face it most of these types of projects will not come to fruition. However, lots of interesting ideas have come from the speculation and ideas that comes in this type of thread. 

    I have been following this thread from the start simply to see if I could learn something or get a cool idea for my own projects. This thread has not been a waste, but sparked the interest of many. Your constant negative comments have done nothing but detracted from this thread and multiple rules of this site. If you do not want to "waste your time" on threads like this...don't participate. 

    • Ted, you shouldn't post unless you're adding to the discussion.

      This thread is one for the lameness record books.  It saddens me to see people waste so much breath on what was obviously a BS thread from the beginning.

      To anyone dumb enough to take this thread seriously... I simultaneously feel sorry for you and think you got what you deserve.  However, it would be very rude to begrudge anyone their chance to bitch over this debacle.

    • If this was my initial reply without giving him a chance, you'd be correct.  If this was just about a kid having big dreams, you'd be correct.  But that's not what this is.

      This is now 11 pages of him not listening to a single thing anyone is telling him.  He's lied to us about having a budget.  He's lied to us about his intent.  He's deceived us acting like this is legit project.  None of which is true.  It's not fair to the membership here that his deception continue.

      I find his claim of having "over 200 hours" and that he paid for most of them to be highly suspect. I can't claim it's untrue, just highly suspect.  That is about $30,000 worth of aircraft rental, fuel, and instructor time.  So unless he just so happens to have a plane and an instructor in the family, there is some BS here.  Furthermore, he claims he has no allowance, and he's too young to have a job.  Math failure on paying for "most" of that himself. 

  • Great thread! I hope you succeed!

    I know it doesn't exactly fit your specs but I think this would be the easiest way to start. Put some LED strobes on it and other visual assistance.


    • T3

      I don't know exactly how much fuel that thing carries, but if you traded 1 gallon of it for payload you could easily carry the DSLR/thermal payload. Very cool demonstration of what is easily possible with today's readily available technology. 

      • ive been looking at that one for a while

        • Penguin C is a great platform, not in a production yet but you have to expect you are actually aiming as high as 250k EUR for complete package without payload. If your target is to use higher grade components, you are looking at the right direction. If you are looking for a hobby grade components (to save budget), I'm not sure you will make success with such requirements in the end.

          Good luck !

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