Autonomous gas powered heavy lift quadcopter we are calling HLQ

Myself and three other Mechanical Engineering students are in our last year of college and we wanted to go out with a bang.... So we though, what would be fun to build as a senior project?

Well, we decided unanimously on building a heavy lift gas powered quadcopter. It will have a payload of 50lbs, variable pitch to allow quick maneuvers and two 12.5hp two-stroke hobby motors running parallel. Each rotor head will have four 435mm rotor blades making this UAV one big quadcopter measuring roughly 40" in length. The four of us are really excited to finish and watch it fly. If you are interested check out the links below.


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Comment by leonardthall on January 30, 2013 at 1:17am

No only should it work well (Yaw included) it shouldn't be much trouble to do with the existing code base!

I look forward to seeing this progress :)

Comment by Roberto Navoni on January 30, 2013 at 2:54am

Good Luck Guys,

we yet develop a fliying prototype two years ago see this link :

The next revision could have a gas engine see this blog post :

We stop the development because was  a complex project and need a big inverstment for continue the development. Our main problem was the trasmission from gas engine to propeller .

Comment by Roberto Navoni on January 30, 2013 at 2:58am

This was the video of first test of HG3-2 : 

Comment by Roberto Navoni on January 30, 2013 at 3:07am

This was new Propeller + Servo controlled special blade.

In our design the target was to have hybrid tech , gas engine and elettric ,too 

Comment by Daniel Allen on January 30, 2013 at 10:23am


I'm glad the option of an engine to generator came to mind, it seems like a logical options for several applications outside of multi-rotors. But I guess a high RPM gas engine without a transmission is the most efficient. Plus a hobby sized rotary engine doesn't seems to be available, let alone a mini diesel engine.

Comment by Adam Conway on January 30, 2013 at 11:27am

One of the main benefits of a quad copter is avoiding the cost and complexity swash plate - this seems to defeat the purpose of going quad. 

Comment by Gary McCray on January 30, 2013 at 11:48am

I respectfully disagree with Luke.

Although conventionally in helicopters Pitch is not used to induce Yaw, nonetheless, the more pitch, the more torque reaction, the more yaw force.

2 opposite same direction rotors with more pitch and other 2 rotors spinning in the opposite direction with less pitch = unbalanced torque reaction = spin of copter body in direction indicated by rotors with more pitch.

Just wanted to state my opinion for the records, you guys are going to prove which one of us is right.

Comment by Gary McCray on January 30, 2013 at 12:00pm

I believe Brad Hughey is planning on using a gas electric generator system for his man carrying multicopter.

They may not make it anymore, but several years ago there were several sizes of Wankel type rotary model engines, I believe including dual rotor models. However, even if you could find one of these I would not recommend it. They never got the seal problems adequately solved on full sized engines, you can bet model engines are worse.

Continuing on the gas / electric idea, the key would be a light and efficient enough generator or alternator so that the conversion from rotary motion to electricity was sufficiently efficient to be practical.

Super Capacitors could smooth it out sufficiently for use.

Basically if you can find the appropriate generator / alternator all the rest of the stuff exists with sufficient capability to make it practical.

Both the mechanical and gas electric approach are feasible and both have significant advantages and difficulties.

If anybody knows of a truly light, efficient appropriate and efficient generator or alternator in the 5 to 10 horsepower class I would certainly like to know about it.

Comment by Luke Olson on January 30, 2013 at 12:01pm

Gary, I hope you're right and I'm wrong because I just backed it on Kickstarter. :)

Comment by Gary McCray on January 30, 2013 at 12:41pm

A little research shows that two of the most significant problems are alternator / generator weight and efficiency.

Normal efficiency for alternators is in the 50 to 60 percent range and normal weight is on the order of about one pound per hundred watts. 70 percent efficiency can be achieved but usually only at considerably below rated output.

Although it is possible for generators to achieve higher efficiency, they tend to weigh considerably more for equivalent power levels.

In off the shelf current commercial alternators a 5000 watt lightweight high efficiency one would weigh over 50 pounds. Obviously that just isn't going to work.

Newer brushless generators and alternators will probably need to be designed specifically for these applications to have any chance of being practical.

As I said above if anybody knows of anything that is already out there, please mention it. Car alternators are high current, but low voltage and are generally under a thousand watts and 5 or more pounds with 40 to 60 percent efficiency.

I found a swell 10,000 watt one, now if only didn't weigh a hundred pounds.


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