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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          • The glider does not have to stay aloft forever, or even more than a day. It only needs to fly for around 10hours max.

      • On your budget the best option would be to purchase a well designed composite powered glider from the former East Block. Look closely at the Supra and related air frames http://www.kennedycomposites.com/suprapro.htm Up can purchase fiberglass or carbon composite versions. You can avoid a gearbox with a low KV brushless inrunner.

        Kennedy Composites - Supra Pro
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        • Alright, i did find one that might work, i haven't done a lot of research, but this one seems like a viable candidate so far. 

  • I'm still in for 5k. Airframe only. No hardware. You pay shipping and crating. What it costs me, it costs you.
    I have surplus military drone motors available at cost for this airframe only.
    • Will you send me pics?

  • Wheew... Those are going to be some genuinely tough requirements to meet... Do you have a spare ~$50,000 laying around?...

    In all seriousness... You may be better off with a task this large, taking it up with your local state university's Aeronautical Engineering program... Sometimes if you meet the right person, present a challenging enough task, it could turn into a senior project for the Engineering Students... ESPECIALLY if you make a donation to the university that has "some number followed by atleast three zeros"...

    As a commercial pilot myself, looking at your list I just don't see it possible to complete the raw engineering and construction for anything less than atleast a $50k commitment... And that's not even counting the flight testing and certification from the FAA side!

    Could I ask what you are trying to use it for? Perhaps the brains here could help you come up with an alternative to keep your costs lower...

    • You know what... You may be better off building a blimp... You just said it needs to have great endurance (10+ hours) and only needs to fly about 50 miles... So it doesn't need to be fast, just controllable and stable...

      • Blimps have been tried and failed many times.  They have a high wind profile that makes it nearly impossible to control.  What he needs is to move the decimal point in his cost estimate over to the right one.

        • or two...

          Either way, if he wants a fixed-wing application, it's going to be $$$$... Electric multicopter / conventional helicopter may be better but there is NO WAY he will ever get the endurance...

          I am really curious what it's going to be used for...

          • The blimp was impossible because helium is hard to get and there is no hydrogen on the airport.

            The drone will be used as an air video platform. Maybe I could sell the video to the news people so they can watch the traffic and local sports and activities.

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