New plane ideas and help, anyone?

I've been working with arduplane/copter for a few months now, and my interest has earned me a project at the college I'm in. Currently, we have a AXN Floater, which is essentially just an easystar with slightly less than one foot taken off the wingspan, and have gotten it to fly almost perfectly. This summer, I will be moving the ardupilot board to a Senior Telemaster as part of assisting a highschool in a UAV competition. First off, does anyone have any advice for setup, moving from the small floater to the telemaster? Anything I should make sure to keep in mind of during the moveover?

Meanwhile, my partner in this project will begin developing a Paparazzi system on the Floater, and the Telemaster belongs to the highschoolers, so when the competition is over, I will be looking for a new plane for the ardupilot. I was thinking either a boom and pod high-efficiency plane with plenty of space for a full FPV system, RC system, and the ardupilot, or a blended body/flying wing high-efficiency plane. I'm looking for a long endurance plane with over 30 minutes of flight time being preferable, at the lowest price possible. Size wise, anything from 5 feet to 8 feet is a possibility, as there are a few flying fields within a few miles of here. I would prefer to have landing gear, because I have missed that quite a bit with the floater, and would like to do autonomous takeoffs. 

Here's my big limiting factor: Budget. I'm open to anything that will support that much equipment with a good endurance, at the cheapest price possible. I have a spektrum system, I will soon have a really lightweight FPV system, and an APM 2.5+ board with a 3DR radio system. The cheaper I can get the airframe at, the better. Thank you very much for your help, I hope to hear back soon!

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  • Thank you very much for the help, I've decided on a Skywalker X-8 flying wing, and just ordered $500 worth of plane equipment. I'll keep the forums posted on my experience with the X-8!

  • Surprised no one has responded to this. I will give you some options that come to mind. First, when you mean cheap, how cheap do you mean? If cost is your main driver then a flying wing would probably be the least expensive (but no landing gear which seems to be something you want) since it has only two servos and the airframe tends to be less expensive. Look in rcgroups and fpvforum at the blunt nose versions of the swift, popwing, tek sumo, etc. These designs add a middle section to an off-the-shelf flying wing to allow more space for FPV equipment. Normally these flyers do not have an APM and there might be an issue of space for the APM. The standard aircraft, such as a Skywalker, etc., would cost more but would have room for all of the equipment. The 2013 Skywalker has a larger cargo area but order one with the 1880 wing (avoid the 1900 wing that seems to have problems with warping). You can add a landing gear for these. If you want the cheapest, build from scratch using one of the designs from Experimental Airlines which has good videos and build instructions. Lot's of options for configuration made up from standard basic wing sections, fuselage construction, etc. I believe that these would be the cheapest option and would allow you to configure something for just about any type of flying.

    Good luck with your flying...

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