I am thinking sending APM power glider to near space by balloon and return home.  Anyone already made it?


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I have not done that yet, and you are probably the first to do it conrolled. when you make this the payload of the balloon  must be under 4 pounds (regs may very pending nation, but 4 pounds or less is good) add two strips of foil for radar check, the tail or midsection should have foil wrapped around it for he same purpose. this is a safety feater (the foil) which allows for radar stations to alert aircraft of an unknown presence bearing mass, if you have a airport in the 60 mile radius alert them and seek clearance (again percautionary). cant wait to hear your results, hope it goes by well and safe, love a video!

This is an idea I was thinking about also, its nice to see that someone else is attempting to do the same. I actually wanted to film the whole thing via a cam on the uav/glider.

I've been doing a bit of research which led me here.


The link you provided is exactly what I'm wanting to do.  I'm still at the drawing board to see what would be best for this type of project.


I've been trying to answer a few questions, not sure if they will come into play, but they still seem to be variables in this project.  Most of which seem to be focused around higher altitudes.


1.) Tracking this on its accent.  Determining a "detach" point/altitude.

2.) High alt winds, will this blow the glider off course?  If so, how easy would it be to get back to a certain waypoint.(battery life, enough power to get to waypoint x)

3.) Will higher altitudes and temp affect battery life(assuming it will be up there for a minute or two).

4.) Will gps be effective at higher altitudes?

5.)Is a glider the best solution? Weight wise?

6.)would audropilot be a good solution for this type of project?


Like i said I'm still in the research and development stages of this.  I hope to have something together soon for flight.





Eric- im into the hig altitude stuff as well, i have some answers or insight on some question

2) may not blow it off course but could pose issues loosing altitude or the integrity of the aircraft

3) temp does affect most battieries, it helps them keep their charge it maybe safe to say it gives it longer life, try testing the battery you wish to use in a freezer for certain periodes of time

5) gliders are probably the best solution in this casee


but one last thing i did not mention- at the higher altitudes their is a lot of radio interference, your camera may even pick up transmissions something to think about, I know the american AF did an experiment try looking it up to see if someone posted results or issues. cheers*

So it looks like there is a lot of regulations with the FAA regarding UAV's or "UAS" - Unmanned Aircraft Systems.

Heres the link to the FAA's site for the above:




4.) use a uBlox and you're save up to 50'000m (i've tested that :))

6.) YES! It works very well just change some code so you can release the glider from the balloon.


Andy, thanks for the response.

I'm going to try to move forward with this project and do lower altitude testing to stay within FAA regs.  I'm not going to totally put high altitude launches out of the question just yet.



1) I have sample code that does this plus detect free fall
2) Depends. Balloon predictions should help you determine where to launch. Battery duty cycle needs to be tested on the ground. Add margin for temperature.
3) In general yes but the battery will come back. See data posted by Earl. He didn't insulate anything. HOWEVER thermal is a problem for servos, gps, apm, cameras and the dwell time is really pretty long. I'm heating outboard electronics and insulating the rest. I would recommend looking at my data for temperature. Sensor compensation can be an issue. I'm compensating the pitot pressure sensor. Not sure yet if I'll work up the cal for gyros and accels.
4) ublox lea-6, but others will work if firmware allows. If you go this way you need to research. And you have to make sure the NMEA parser is working. If you use lea-6 make sure the initialization issue is fixed. V2.68+ I'm at v2.65 but have incorporated the 2.68 fix.
5) yes. I'm using a foam EDF as a glider and using the duct for all the electronics. Of course the duct and nozzle are plugged. You should look at my blog for bill of materials. 3# 4 oz. The structure is insulation.
6) yes. I doubt any off the shelf UAS solution will work well. Ardupilot allows you freedom to design sw that will.

I know I'm asking late, but did you do the project yet? If so, how did the APM perform at high altitude?

Last weekend NTNS-3 hit its target LZ at 9k AGL from a drop at 48k.  Video to follow.

You will find this video a big help my friend. Enjoy !



nice!! any luck with the video?

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