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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  • Thats probably becuase the drone is not going to be a 30-40ft wingspan with 10+ hours of endurance. Its going to be a sub-30ft and around 10 hour endurance plane

    • The wingspan should also be around 30-40ft.

      the drone is not going to be a 30-40ft wingspan

      You can make small modifications to the original request but the fact remains that really the whole premise is flawed, either accept your price expectations are way too low (especially for an electric system) or make some serious specification sacrifices, it's very simple. Choose one.

      You won't just barge your way through this problem by being stubborn and saying you will get it done no matter what. More than likely you will just end up poorer with some hefty insurance premiums.

        There are plenty of very smart people here willing to help, happy to help actually, but you just need to put some serious effort in first before asking for advice.

      Don't just have a thought bubble and expect others to lay all the hard groundwork for you. Also be willing to accept that sometimes you are wrong. Everyone in this thread commenting has  had ideas that have been wildly wrong numerous times in their lives too, there is no shame in it, really its one of the best ways to learn.


      • I know im wrong. And i've been wrong many times in this thread. We've gone from a sub-$5000 electric airframe with a 10+ hour range. To an airframe that has around a 20 ft wingspan with most likely a gas motor, and a sub-10hr endurance. And the budget is also been doubled. I'm quite happy to have all criticisms to the project and for you guys to point out the flaws. Thats why i posted this thread here. But people should stop just saying the this will never happen. Because with or without you guys, its going to happen. I would just prefer to have many brains working on this project rather that a few. Because that will save both time and money. 

        • I did not see the comment about doubling the budget earlier.

          Something like below is still over but gives you a decent idea of the endurance you could achieve with a well designed airframe:


          UAV Factory – Unmanned Platforms and Subsystems
          UAVFACTORY - high performance composite airframe design and manufacture for the unmanned industry
        • Fair enough, though I never said it wouldn't happen, just that you need some expectation management. Something has to give.

          I've lurked on diydrones for a long time, these extreme requests seem to come up regularly, and to be honest I enjoy them, not because I learn anything useful but more because they have an inspirational quality, it's actually really good to see people out there dreaming big. Someone has to do it. I wish you good luck, but you can't claim that no one warned you about the struggles.

          • Oh trust me, by this point i know that this project is going to be incredibly difficult. But it will happen. To prove my point i can use self-driving cars. When the first one came out, it was after years of development and it faced massive opposition, but now self-driving cars are safer than their human counterparts and have their own licences. And the Penguin looks good and can do everything i want it to. It looks like it also comes fully built, so that would be where the big price is. But my only concern is it only has a 10ft wingspan.......

  • http://diydrones.com/forum/topics/rama1-diy-electromagnetic-drive-d... this guy might can help u out ; )

  • You're kind of asking us to design a unicorn here...low cost, long endurance, low weight, etc etc. 

    Designing a very efficient plane (from scratch) on that scale you are talking about (65+lbs) takes at least an aerospace engineer, a structures engineer, someone who can do composite layups, thousands of dollars for materials, very strong actuators. Just the actuators alone-- you cannot ask for safety/reliability from hobby servos. If you want aviation quality servos, you're going to be in the hundreds to thousands of dollars per actuator. And IMO, don't even think about using a Pixhawk to fly it if you're flying a 40ft wingspan 100lbs airplane, nevermind taking off/landing at a real airport

    Sorry for the no-can-do attitude, but I am trying to give a reality check

    • I mean, you guys. We have cars that have their own licence. We've been to other PLANETS. we have the technology. The hardest part is going to be convincing people that its safe enough to trust. 

      • The hardest part is the budget

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