Newbie wants a UAV.

Hi my name is Matt,

I'm new to the whole UAV thing. I have been flying a cheap foam Super Cub for a few months now and have only recently heard about the UAV aspects. In my community I am a member of the local volunteer fire dept. and on occasion we get calls to assist in the search for missing/lost persons in our area. I am very interested in transforming my plane into a UAV not only for the cool/fun factor of it but it would be a great asset when the call should go out to search for another missing person.


I appologize for being long winded but the question I have is, What kit can I buy that has everything I need to make it work in my plane? I am running the Spektrum 4 channel system at the moment and plan to upgrade to the 8 channel soon. The plane is from Hobby Zone and comes with what they are calling "Anti-Crash Technology"... 


If someone can give this "non-techie" some insite as to what I need it will be greatly appreciated!! 

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  • I think I know which Super Cub it is that you have, and I think it's safe to say that it's not suitable at all for flying with an Ardupilot.  It's quite small, and by the time you add the APM, you won't have much payload left for a camera or anything.  It also doesn't have Ailerons which isn't great.


    Since you're already shopping at Hobby King, the easiest thing for you do to is just buy a Bixler or Skywalker to fly it on.  They're cheap, decent, and people here have already figured out all the settings to make them work with the APM.

  • Greetings,

    I've been doing SAR in the US for fifteen years and have been wanting to apply UAVs to SAR since they first became available. The problem is that without a COA they're essentially illegal. Flying one at a major incident would attract attention, some good and some bad. My concern is that any bad UAV publicity might have major repercussions.

    Possible bad press would include interference with other search (LE, CAP) or news aircraft, photographing people's property (legal, but will raise privacy violation issues as we've seen elsewhere), and illegal operation of a UAV by your agency. There are ways of mitigating all of these, but you need to take a lot of care.

    I know we need to lobby, advocate, demonstrate, and push for more opportunities to fly UAVs for commercial and public benefit. Is building and flying UAVs (FPV or with autopilot) for SAR purposes without a COA a wise way to approach the problem?

    I've applied for access to the COA web site and heard nothing back. The COA would be for an exemption for a local, rural, government disaster response agency to fly UAVs for R&D purposes in support of SAR and disaster response. Three messages to the help desk generated a "we'll get back to you soon" and nothing else. Attempts to contact the FAA about the COA process yielded nothing.

    I, like others, am extremely frustrated.


  • There's also plenty of good quality 5.8ghz video systems out there.  I'd say stay with 2.4ghz for rc control, since it's less prone to interference, which is more critical than the video link.  You can survive a few glitches on the video, but loose rc control of your plane, and it may go down.

  • Hi Matthew

    You will definately want to upgrade your radio to something with a few more channels. Steer clear of 2.4Ghz systems as later on you may want to add a live video feed and most video is on 2.4Ghz.


    Order a basic APM2 kit from the store but I would suggest not starting with any Telemetry.

    Get it installed and working in Stabilize and FBW mode, then try a few waypoints.

    If you can get it all working then you might consider adding telemetry and then a video link which costs quite a bit more.

    Start simple, take it in small steps and you should be fine.

    I'd suggest maybe getting a cheap foam plane to practice on because you will crash a few times.

    While you are waiting for your hardware to arrive, read the wiki..


    Then read it again,

    Then read it once more.

    It should answer all your questions. 


  • Well, Udrones is offering a RTF (Ready To Fly) solution.

    Since you already have a plane, you probably won't buy it, but it will give you an idea of what's needed.
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