What Would You Pay For An Airframe?

I am getting close to moving from a hobby involving RC and UAVs to making a career out of it. I am currently in the final stages of development of an all aluminum airframe with a 5-10 HP gas motor, 20 lb recommended to 50lb max payload, large internal area, and the ability to be quickly torn down and put into a sedan that has fold down back seats. It will not be the sexiest beast in the air, think of it as a project box with wings.I am thinking of offering the following;-Plans-parts packages-Almost Ready To Fly (ARF)What would any of you be willing to pay for any of these?

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  • The 8 ft should carry about 15 lbs, but we have to do some flight testing to see what it really reacts like in the air fully loaded. There is no dihedral on the wings, gives it a bit more endurance, but I want a wingless version available in case you want to make your own. My goal is to sell it for 5k or less. But, the bean counters have to have their say first.
  • This is our 500 pounder taking off from an unimproved dirt patch. Notice the big balloon tires like on a Piper Cub.

    And here is the one I am talking about. Ignore the large vertical antenna, that was for a test with a client.
  • 8, 12, and 21 foot are current wingspan configurations. The 21 footer we are planning on a 100 lb payload.
  • I would love to see some images of these larger UAV's. I am also willing to go for a flight in your 500lb payload aircraft. :P
  • There is an even larger one in the works, but there will possibly be a smaller one in the near future. Currently, I am only looking at gas power, but electric may be a possibility.

    Aluminum is really not that hard to work with. There will be no complex curves to shape, just a lot of riveting. Aluminum is a higher price than balsa and foam, but more durable in heavy use situations and also helps block stray EM emissions that can play havoc with electronics. I am currently talking to University of North Dakota about them buying one. They will be using it for their aerospace engineering program for airfoil design. A wing swap on this thing takes about a minute, so they are very interested.

    As for general hobbyists, personally, I would stick to something like the Senior Telemaster just to stay on the good side of the FAA. If you want to jump through the hoops for flying commercial UAVs, I am betting that mine would be cheaper and more easily maintained. I have a really large one that carries a 500lb payload available, but I'm guessing most of you couldn't afford that one :(
  • I know as a hobbyist I would not be legally allowed to fly this. Regardless I am interested. Are you planning on only using gas engines with large frames. I would be more interested in a midsized electric frames, but that's just me.
  • T3
    Hi, if you compare yor offering with that, then what are advantages?
    I would be a bit affraid of aluminium on DIY context, foam/balsa sounds a lot safer.
  • Mostly universities, but I thought the DIY plans and kits would be more affordable for those without bigger budgets.
  • Hold on sparky! Who's your target audience?
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