OpenSource Airship UAV platform - silent_runner

Hi Guys,

I´m in involveld in several airship and DIY related projects. For example we´re at the moment trying to fit an Ardupilot in this science vessel:

Anyway, I wondered a long time why there are not much airship UAV´s out there and figured out that the most likely reason is the lack of easy accessible platforms. This is why we recently published the DIY high performance airship silent_runner 

Now we´ve built quite a few of these ships and gathered some experience to work on the next generation. This might lead to a kit that contains some of the essential components like the envelope, structure parts and basic electronics.

So I believe it´s a good time to see if there are some key features a ship should have, to be useful for the UAV community. At the moment design criterias are:

- small (has to fit in a car)

- efficiency (run half an hour on a 500mAh/7.4V Lipo)

- maneuverability

- 30g of payload (arduino micro, Xbee + some sensors)

Is there interest in such a system and would you add some more critical abilities?

Some outdoor footages here:

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  • Hello , I am from Bangladesh. I am currently working on a airship project, but can't find the main element "Latex airship shaped balloon with at least 200 g of lift/300 L volume." please help me with this.Suggest me where can i get the Balloon ,or envelop or blimp or anything.


    • Dear Tanvir,

      you can contact me directly, we can supply you with either the latex ballons or a much better PE balloon like seen in this video:

      Both lift about 200 g and have a volume of about 300 l.



      • Dear Andreas ,Thank you so much for your replay, i have already send you a massage ,please check and let me know :) 



  • MR60

    I was waiting for some UAV balloon solution like this, to test it out.

    I'd love to have an autopilot programming functionality on such an airship.

    If you're planning to sell kits I'm a buyer.

    • Hey, sounds great. The project was rather intended to give people the opportunity to build a nice airship suited to their needs without doing all the research on their own. 

      At the moment we´ve not yet tested any autopilot on the ship, even though there were recently some shrinked clones of the APM launched that would perfectly fit in terms of size and capability. I´m probably going to order one or two soon :)

      However, if you´d like to have a silent runner, contact us directly, we may can send you parts or one of our prototypes to play around.  These two ships:

      And that one:

      They are currently in good conditions and could be operated by you, if you like. But we constantly build more and improve the design. It´s a good way to learn.

  • Hey,

    We have implemented Thrust vectoring system but it is not solving problem for yaw control.

  • Very cool! Thanks for posting this and for the new webpage. I'll be looking for updates to the webpage. This looks very interesting.

  • Hi Andreas

    I am working on outdoor autonomous airship.I bought APM for autonomous control and changed some codes but I am not achieve complete autonomous flight.

    In my project problem is with yaw control, I am using reversible motor and ESCs but from ardupilot output goes to servos, so there is mismatch in time(Sine motor stop first and than start rotating in other direction) and it not giving me desire result.

    can you please suggest me any idea for proper autonomous flight?

    • Hi Taruna,

      sounds like a great project.
      Actually outdoor airships should be controlled in yaw and nick by control surfaces such as rudders in the rear of the ship. In normal operation there is always wind flow that has to be overcome by forward thrust of the airship. That way you can even hover over a position using your rudders and control surfaces at low thrust.

      See here what I mean with facing the wind:

      I would propose very normal cross fins that can be controlled from the standard APM setup. In fact using just motors and a cross rudder you can use the airplane code without any changes.

      Good luck with the project!

      • Hello Andreas,

        Thankyou for the fast reply. 

        Problem is high drag and low speed because of big size, so control surfaces are not enough to provide that much force so I am using yaw motor for yaw control.

        so now how to implement with ardupilot(as I specified before output of ardupilot goes to servos and I am using reversible motor so motor has to stop once before it start rotating in other direction and so there is mismatch of time and yaw motor is not responding to yaw control).

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