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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  • Chrisa,

    We sure are. We keep our facebook page updated fairly (maybe more like somewhat) regularly, and we have tons of pictures up on our website at incrediblehlq.com

    We ran into some manufacturing problems that we are just beginning to recover from, but we are still working on it. We are all graduated and working now, so our work pace will be a bit slower, but we still want to see HLQ fly and are dedicated to making it happen.

    --Nick C

    Incredible HLQ - Heavy Lift Quadcopter
    Incredible HLQ - Heavy Lift Quadcopter. 1,136 likes · 4 talking about this. Incredible HLQ (Heavy Lift Quadcopter) is a mechanical engineering senior…
  • Is anyone else still working on this?

  • Br,

    This is the first to my knowledge.  Some have made nitro powered variable pitch quad that fly.  The problem is that most of them use RC helicopter tail rotors and booms that are not made to handle the power through put that is needed.  They report stripped gears and belt failures with all but the lightest quads.

    Chris F

  • Hi all,

    Just wanted to ask if someone could ever make a gasoline powered quad-copter with variable pitch props fly or this is the first one?


  • Yaw control is a simple matter of adding another axis to your rotor swash plates (like a helicopter).  Chinook helicopters can yaw and they do it with 2 rotor blades, they tilt the rotors via cyclic pitch control, the same mechanical solution will work for 4 rotors.  You already have a swash plate to achieve collective pitch, the added weight/complexity of using some cyclic pitch is still going to give you better efficiency than fuel/electric.  In fact you only need cyclic pitch control of 2 of your 4 rotors to achieve the yaw you are going to need to overcome wind veining effects, which are going to happen.

    The bonus of fuel/electric is the torque response and power/weight you get from electric.  Great for ground pounders, not sure the fuel/engine/generator weight is much better a trade then just batteries.  Pretty sure it's not as good as just vectoring some thrust.

    I think vectored thrust, via fully articulated swash plates, tilting nacels (like V-22s and tri-copters do), or simply installing ailerons in your downdraft (like single rotor drones) is the way to go.  

    I might also suggest burning a gasified fuel (like propane, hydrogen, etc) vs. liquid as the power/weight is better, comes with other problems.  Electric power/weight will always be better, but that power/weight is only as good as long as your batteries can produce.  That is the achilles heal of all electrics, if you want to "beat the air into submission" for hours vs. minutes, you need something that burns vs. something that charges.  Power/weight is essential for acrobatics, etc, not so much for what amounts to a flying truck.

    One more thing, your center of gravity here is going to be MUCH lower depending on your load.  In helicopters dangling long line loads, you fly the LOAD, NOT the helicopter.  As a helicopter pilot this is what you learn/practice.  You may want to design your payload bay such that you can place your IMU closer to the center of gravity vs. the center of lift.  For multicopters CG and CL are very, very close which is what makes them so agile, you are no moving those farther apart.  You can either reprogram your IMU to compensate or you can simply reposition it closer to CG vs CL.  This should also give you more positive stability at the expense of some agility, but that's is what trucks are for...

  • Hi all,

    HLQ is almost completed and ready to fly. Because of some pulley issues we will be delaying the flight but keep an eye on our facebook page. We will be posting updates as we get closer to completion and flight.


    Incredible HLQ - Heavy Lift Quadcopter
    Incredible HLQ - Heavy Lift Quadcopter. 1,136 likes · 4 talking about this. Incredible HLQ (Heavy Lift Quadcopter) is a mechanical engineering senior…
  • Hi everyone. The team and I have been hard at work. I wanted to share a new rendering of the design. It still might have some minor changes but will look more closely to the new rendering. We are also making great progress on the fundraising so I would like to thank all those who have contributed in one way or another.


  • Just had another thought. Since you are wanting to use collective pitch control instead of just relying on the speed of the different rotors for control of elevation and yaw, why not just add a teeter hinge to control yaw? It would only require 2 extra servos, one for each pair of rotors, but you'd be able to direct the thrust itself to control the yaw. Since you are already going through the trouble of building the complex rotor system it shouldn't take much to add one extra link to each one. Again, just a thought. I'm kind of a noob in this field so feel free do dismiss any of my thoughts out of hand.

  • fair enough

  • I think the military is in fact already using Hydrogen Fuel cells in these applications very successfully.

    The problem for us without government expense is incredibly high price of said cells.

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