So after having made multiple autonomous flights, from my home to my parents (10km) and from my home to the rc-club (5km), Some clubmembers got my head crazy and kinda challenged me to cross the English Channel autonomously.  But heck, I want my plane back, so I'll be crossing the Channel AND going BACK.

The idea seemed crazy enough at first, but I couldn't get it out of my head and started doing the math (and the $$$ math).

I read about some long distance fpv flights, so there should be airframes capable of such distances.  After quite some thought, reading and consulting, the choise fell on the skywalker X8.  Total grounddistance to cover is about 70km, but to account for some crosswind and other unforseen circumstances, I wanted a range of 100km.




To make a long story short, my X8 covered a total distance of 102km in 1 flight a few weekends back, complete with onboard video, video transmitter for fpv, minimOSD and telemetry.  I still had a little juice left in the batteries when I landed.  This flight was for the most part flown with my rc transmitter off (simulated out of rc range).  Telemetry was always on (in range) but I have successfully flown with telemetry disconnected and groundmodule ID changed (simulated out of range telemetry)

Now the only thing keeping me from realising my challenge is legislation.  I'm a technical guy, so this is not my strongpoint.  Has anyone got some info how to tackle this?  Should I contact French and English air traffic authorities ?  Would I be likely to get permission ?

I plan to fly 97% over sea at an altitude of 100m.  At that height I don't think I pose a threat to any ships nor any airplanes.  Anything else I should consider regarding safety ?  I think the biggest risk I take is losing my plane, which is ofcourse a risk I'm willing to take, but any comments are welcome!


I've uploaded a Tlog file of my 102km flight to droneshare : droneshare 102km flight  

Please disregard the total flighttime on droneshare.  Flighttime was 90 minutes, not 229 minutes as is mentioned on droneshare.


I have found an online weather report for a calais buoy so I can check for a day where wind conditions are favorable (not to much wind and not too cross)


Ofcourse if anyone from England is reading this and is willing to lend a hand by standing watch and giving me a call when he sees the plane, or  maybe even have a pc with telemetry to follow the plane if it gets out of my range, I'll be happy to keep him(her) in the loop.  Maybe Martin from http://www.buildyourowndrone.co.uk/ would be interested in giving me a hand ?


Any further advice to help me complete the challenge sucessfully is welcome !






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  • First of all congrats and good luck u4eake,

    I am wondering what kind of telemetry are you planning to use for this flight?

  • Good luck with your attempt u4eake, but be careful accepting payment for anything related to it because it will quickly become considered a commercial venture and you will fall foul of all the red tape that entails.

    You really need to stay within the amateur arena to keep the best chance at making it happen. 

  • Now that's Diydrones :) Go u4eake!

  • 100KM

    Dries, thanks! I'll sure keep you posted! 

    Jeremy, that sounds really interesting.  Let's talk!

  • I work for a video production company and we have been looking to hire somebody to make a flight from either France or Belgium to England. If you're interested in working with us we can cover all costs, sort out the legals, insurance and pay you for use of your plane and your piloting.

  • Nice plans!! If I can help just give a call..

  • You can always stop your boat before taking control of your plane, and you will be in agreement with French régulations:

    - LOS

    - altitude < 150m

    - away from airports and crowds

    - stop boat if you need to control the plane

  • If you program your navigation PIDs badly, it will fly around in a non-linear course and won't be readily identifiable compared with your average gull or albatross.  Hardly something that the RAF will scramble the remaining two interceptor aircraft for, after George O's budget cutting...

  • A flying wing aircraft made of foam, less than 2m in span, flying under 500 feet... the radar profile on that would be non-existant and even if it were detected, it'd appear to be a bird (unless you're doing 100 kph!).

  • I would only do it with someone in uk land with telemetry, video rx AND another radio. Use rangelink(new chainlink) UHF with multimaster(2 TX radios one in france one in uk).

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