In Airnamics we wanted to do something just for fun and make an FPV racer that is a cross between a multi rotor and a fixed wing. It opens up completely new performance capabilities because you can use the wing as the main lift device, an air break, or anything in between.
On the other hand we would like to combine classical drone racing with gaming aspects. You would have a limited amount of energy available per lap but would unlock additional energy reserves every single lap for reaching specific goals (e.g. highest top speed, highest continuous g-load, quickest lap time, proximity flying, etc.).
The racer is built on top of our UAS development platform but we would consider developing an open source based production version if the market feedback would be favorable.
We would sincerely appreciate your opinion about the system. How interesting do you find it? Any suggestions on how to make it even better? Thanks for sharing!
We'll definitely develop a really simple and robust airframe with a snap-on wing. Pylon racers are extremely fragile. We had to quite substantially reinforce the stock wing on the prototype. Also the airfoil is not optimized for speed and wing-load profile of a hybrid.
I am very reserved about scaling it up to F5D because it is already a monster in terms of performance. I would like to maximize the fun factor not necessarily the ultimate performance, because you would severely limit the number of pilots capable of flying it and additionally increase safety concerns. Because of the forces on the airframe the cost would go up to ridiculous levels. I would like to keep it small and robust (something like 300mm wingspan).
We'll probably dedicate a page either on our website, here on the forum, or something similar. I'll let you know.
S400 pylons are pretty small internally, I dont think even a standard 36x36 pixracer board would fit into most, probably with the except of the LP1.1 which is pretty roomy inside. http://www.hjk-speedwings.de/epages/62907075.sf/en_GB/?ObjectPath=/...
Or scale it up to a full F5D sized model?
Definitely go inrunner and a S400 APC pylon prop for forwards propulsion, get a lot more out for what goes in.
Keep up the good work, is there anywhere to follow the progress?
What do you suggest to include in the open source platform?
I would suggest to keep the weight and size down as much as possible for safety and robustness reasons. Probably around 300 grams MTOW would be ideal. Something like 1306 motors for vertical propulsion. Your thoughts? Any other suggestions or ideas? Thanks!
I think im in love! please make this opensource, I went through a bit of a S400 pylon "phase" a few years ago...
Incredible machine, and piloting, I want one bad.
I agree. Pilot skilz are to often overlooked. That's why my first question was how does the control system work.
In this case it's essentially running a quad controller on a airplane with forward motor, and all attitude control is via the quad motors only. You can hear the forward motor running most of the time, even during the aerobatic maneuvers, and "transitions" between forward and hover flight are only a consequence of what the forward speed is at that time, as the quad keeps it airborne all the time. This is how I started with my hex pusher with skyfun wings last May.
BTW a PXH running Copter code it works fine as well, and with alt-hold it's a blast to "drift" around the sky with a pusher hex(Thorax), and even without the wings the hex does +100kmh with just a 300W pusher motor. The proper pylon setup makes it even faster of course which makes this way more awesome though! ;-)
I feel the need to point out that what we are seeing in the video is a skilled RC pilot doing maneuvers in manual (basic stabilization only) mode.
Don't get me wrong, this is a something new and a novel approach that deserves credit.
But my point is that mature autopilots have now reached a point where performance is pretty much similar, and even more important that in general there is to much focus on the autopilot and to little focus on pilot skills.
I've received a couple of questions through other channels and wanted to post the answers here as well. Maybe somebody will find it useful.
Answers to JB's questions 5 and 6:
quite impressive! I love when the plane stops abruptly lifting its nose like a cobra.