I've had a lot of questions recently about the USA trip I'm planning, and thought I'd provide some additional details about what plane, FPV, AP, RTH, etc system I'll be using for the journey.

Basically, I'm planning on scratch building a twin engine airplane with a 6 -7 ft. wing span. It will fly at 60 - 80 MPH for as long as possible (hope to get an hour or more at that speed). I'll land it, replace the batteries, service the airplane, and take off again, repeating this until I reach the other side of the US.

I'll need a team of 4: a pilot, a driver (of the chase car we'll ride in), a navigator (works between pilot and driver to maintain proper proximity with the airplane), and an engineer (charges batteries, watches current airplane performance, etc.)

Planning on doing it in 2014. Why? I want lots of experience before attempting this, and, I need to save up some cash to pay for it all! Sponsors welcome!

Feel free to provide feedback!


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  • Consider:
    Parachute landing eliminates a lot of time, hassle, risk
    Circling, tracking autopilot will definitely be needed to avoid overshoots, likely still needs development, and will be slower than you expect to maintain altitude once efficient circling is figured in
    Long range FPV gear is going to be very expensive, weight-wise
    Cellular modem backup operation for emergency launchings, telemetry, waypoints
    Mobile wifi FPV, control may be practical for close range - wifi signal is a lot stronger throuh air than walls
    Pilot needs giant, comfortable VLOS windowed compartment in vehicle
  • Neat idea, but definitely need some additional project management.  How about making it for a charity.  That way it will benefit people, and make it less likely for authorities to want to shut you down, just because they don't like the idea.  Safety is paramount for you and other aircraft in the air, and people on the ground.  

    Here are some specific thoughts I have:

    1. As Mike mentioned, keeping up with the plane will be a major issue.  Every time you enter of leave a major town or metro area, you will have traffic bottlenecks.  You will need to plan your route carefully to avoid those.  If you plane is travelling 60-80 mph, then in order to keep up, you need to drive above the speed limit at some point.  Not a good idea, if you want to avoid hassles from the authorities.
    2. You mentioned trying to fly for as long as the plane will stay in the air, and then land.  Better factor in some wiggle room, since you don't want to run out of power, and crash thus requiring repeated repair sessions.
    3. Get some backup planes.  That way you can repair one, while flying another.  Maybe factor in an extra man for the repair crew.
    4. Do you plan to use an autopilot like the APM?  It would make the endeavour much easier, since you can pre-plan every leg of your trip.
  • How about signing up with the AMA to avoid unwanted hassle with the authorities?
  • Your plane will be flying faster than your car...think about speed limits (I am in China at the momebt so cao't see your video so maybe I am misunderstanding something).

    I drove Route 66 last year in 7.5 days with little time for sight seeing. Speed limits are a bitch and passing through or even around cities takes a lot longer than you might think.....

  • Moderator

    By 2014 I bet any android phone will be able to run any number of versions of software that not only will drive your airframe, but also handle the communications and imaging.

    My advice would be to forgo the weight of FPV equipment, keep it simple and fly a motor glider of your own design.

    You will need a high aspect ratio efficient wing and aim for 3 to 4 amps an hour in the cruise, less perhaps.

    Again by 2014 I think the UDB board will probably be soaring capable and that should extend your flights.

    Start looking at controlled airspace on sectional charts or even any of the Google Earth charts. Whatever happens with the tech you will need to avoid CAS

    In fact I think you should make sitting at  least the PPL airlaw exam part of your plan, navigation would also help you with, well navigation.

    I look forward to watching your success, because judging by your work so far that's what you will make it.

  • Your project represent numerous communication chalenges. By communication I specialy mean the continious need of publishing your progress. CyberCrash proposition's of a detailed plan(visualy graphic) is the way to go for a start. Dont worry about the format of such a plan. Put it on paper as it come and get a first version out. This should be very helpfull for all of us neewbees to follow and relate to, but dont be suprise because this initial plan will change. When it does, we will have something visual to relate to.

    Keep on going

  • I hoped you hadn't seen my first post. I was a bit stressed out. sorry for that.

    Okay, I am confident your next video will exceed all of my expectations.

  • @CyberCrash Pizza delivery on a quadcopter? This I've got to see :)

    To me the difference between an idea and a plan is that plans have actionable items that are connected with resources capable of attaining the objective. I had a plan for 2011 as well, and achieved it just as I plan on completing the remainder of these plans for the next few years.

    This is as much detail as I could fit in a 20 minute video, and was a direct response from questions from people on this and other communities.

    Stick with me CyberCrash!

  • Hey,

    thanks for sharing your idea with us. But please: Give us some information in your videos. Not just put a video in here just to talk.

    Why don't you present us with a detailed plan of your idea. This would be worth a video posting.

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