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.


web page:

Facebook page: 

Views: 30765

Comment by Mauricio on January 29, 2013 at 9:12pm

I`m not expert in multicopters.... but you may want to rethink the concept and switch to electric? I think you can easily lift that weight with electric motors, and gas may give you a ton of trouble to tune up for a multicopter. 

If you are using gas, a conventional RC helicopter may do the job way easier...

Comment by Jim Brennan on January 29, 2013 at 9:28pm

Yaw might be tough too.  Not sure if you can get yaw without changing the speed of the prop and only changing the pitch.  You might need a tail rotor to make it move.

Comment by Gary McCray on January 29, 2013 at 9:37pm

Very interesting take on a multicopter.

Should work if spec'd properly.

Don't really see the yaw problem mentioned above, increase pitch on 2 opposite motors decrease on other 2 opposite motors, spins fine.

Going dead loss on 4 rotor control servos and electronics or small generator?

Could probably get this to fly for hours.

Two motors for balance?

You do lose one of the real advantages of electric multicopter in simple propeller and mechanism but you do get a power density that electrics can't even come close to.

Hope you publish ALL your data, this is going to produce some very interesting fallout.

Gas powered quadcopter - HMMM!

Comment by Gary McCray on January 29, 2013 at 9:44pm

It does seem to me you show the blades for all 4 rotors turning the same direction - this is wrong - spin like top.

I suspect it was simply easy to illustrate this way and you already knew that.

Best of luck and please post your progress here, this is extremely innovative and interesting to us all.

Comment by Daniel Allen on January 29, 2013 at 10:14pm

This is an amazing project that will be bring about further advances in mutlicopters.

I'm guessing this project isn't about what is known to work, but rather to break free of conventions. It would have been easier to build a dual prop helicopter or a massive electronic quad. But this is definitely something I'll constantly keep an eye out for.

Ever considered using a high RPM rotary engine to power a small generator? Its a lot of weight, but electric engines have plenty of torque. That's how diesel trains are setup.

Comment by Gabe on January 29, 2013 at 10:20pm

Hi everyone,

So we decided to do gas because as Gary said, the power to weight is much better with gas.

As for stability, we are using variable pitch rotor heads so we can manipulate the quad quickly similar to that of electric. The driving factor for gas was due to the long run time available. Yes, Gary we will have two rotor heads rotating clockwise and two rotating counter clockwise. The only issue is finding semi-symmetric or asymmetric rotor blades (two in each rotating direction). This would maximize our lift capability while increasing our efficiency. Currently we are sizing bearing and gears for the quad. We are also having the tubular arms made of carbon and the center hub from aluminum.

If anyone has tips or an idea please share. We have been using our own money but it's getting expensive so if any one feels inclined to help with the fundraiser that would be wonderful.

Comment by Gabe on January 29, 2013 at 10:26pm

Daniel :-)

we did look into diesel/electric set up but we liked the gas option more.

Yes, this project wasn't about what's out there. It's more about what can we do to push the envelope. It might fail or it might work wonderful, we aren't sure yet but how can we know if we never try? We are really excited to see what happens and will do our very best to make this a successful project. 

Comment by Luke Olson on January 29, 2013 at 10:38pm

The yaw will be a problem if all of the props are spinning at the same rate (regardless of pitch, because pitch isn't what causes the yaw). A rotor specifically for yaw could work but that ads a lot of complexity to the build. I agree, you might rethink your design and consider electric. If you want to stick with a gas motor I think you're in for a much more complex project than it seems at first. Or maybe a mix, like a gas motor powering electric motors.

Comment by mquintilian on January 29, 2013 at 11:11pm

Very cool but even though a gas engine may say it puts out 12.6 HP, they don't put out nearly that amount especially the two stroke gassers. I'd be surprised if the engine there using is able to put out 6hp

Comment by Jim Brennan on January 29, 2013 at 11:16pm

I guess you could run it in "simple mode" and you wouldn't need yaw....


You need to be a member of DIY Drones to add comments!

Join DIY Drones

© 2018   Created by Chris Anderson.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service