From the Local Motors blog, a report from the first bench testing of the 1/4 scale prototype of the Airbus Cargo Drone Challenge winner, which will debut at the Commercial UAV Expo in Las Vegas next month. That's me at right (with safety glasses)
Two months ago our co-creation community was drawing sketches on napkins to determine wing taper ratios and materials for what would ultimately become a finished cargo drone. The build has now progressed to the point that Local Motors and Airbus engineers have completed scale models and experimental test flights.
The nose cone, fuselage, tail boom and several other parts of the full-scale Zelator-28 are nearing completion.
Pre-epoxy full-scale build.
The experimental quarter-scale model took flight this past weekend in Henderson, Nev. Local Motors engineers and Jon Daniels of Praxis Aerospace Concepts International (PACI) teamed with Chris Anderson of 3D Robotics (3DR) on the integration and demonstration of his flight control system for vertical take-off and transitional forward flight, known as PX4. Anderson’s flight system served as an interface for the motors, speed controllers and servomechanisms.
The test model completed a hover and touchdown, but a few mechanical issues prevented forward flight. The experiment was very beneficial to the build team, however, as it helped identify potential failure modes before stepping up to the full scale aircraft.
“They are simple fixes for the most part. There was a hardware conflict with the servos and an issue with the motor pods in the quarter-scale model,” said Local Motors engineer Alex Palmer. “[The quarter-scale model] has a different attachment design than the full scale so that issue will resolve itself.”
The team is now focused on completing two full-scale models of the Zelator-28 that should be ready for flight testing in the next two weeks. Airbus engineers are planning to join the team for the first flights of the prototype. There are still active discussions on the project page for the co-creation community to provide ideas and feedback pertaining to wing design and the landing gear. Make your mark on the present and future of unmanned aerial vehicles by getting in on the discussion.