I have been working on and off towards a VTOL aircraft for a few years now. All of this work has been kept off of the record, but I had the very first successful VTOL Flight and transition with this aircraft yesterday and am very excited to share these results. This method of VTOL is not a new concept, and was mainly inspired by X-planes of the past and the more modern Latitude Engineering's Hybrid Quad Rotor UAV.

Separate Lift & Thrust VTOL Aircraft were attempted in the early days of aviation, but gas powered engines and no flight control computers meant that they were unreliable and unstable. Now with the advent of powerful electric motors and advanced flight controllers like the Pixhawk, we are able to make these vehicles practical.

The Aircraft was assembled using the RMRC Anaconda as the base airframe, mated with a 3DR X8+ Power system. While my hardware and aircraft design knowledge is great, I have next to no knowledge of being able to edit software code. If anyone would like to assist in developing code for such an aircraft, it would fulfill the missing piece of the puzzle. Ideally for VTOL aircraft to be completely practical, the entire flight with transition and back should be automated and not rely on piloting skill.

I hope you all enjoy this, I will try to make more tests and videos as we continue to improve the aircraft-


Views: 9766

Comment by John Hutchison on October 31, 2014 at 2:00pm

Wow, great work. Do the rotors turn off when you have sufficient forward speed and the pusher prop is on?

Comment by Joseph Aletky on October 31, 2014 at 2:29pm

Yes, they have a brake programmed and the Pixhawk is manually commanded to arm or disarm based on pilot discretion while in flight.

Comment by Hugues on October 31, 2014 at 3:03pm

Nice. So is the pixhawk only controlling the x8, and the plane is controlled manually? Or are there two pixhawk , one for running copter firmware and a second for the APM plane firmware?

Comment by Joseph Aletky on October 31, 2014 at 3:07pm

One Pixhawk is flying the X8, and the plane is flown manually. Step two is adding another Pixhawk for the plane, and step 3 is automating the transition from vertical take off to forward flight and back to vertical landing

Comment by Rob_Lefebvre on October 31, 2014 at 3:15pm

Hey Joseph, cool project so far.  I'm definitely interested in working on projects like this, now that helicopters are almost "done".

Comment by Scott Fuller on October 31, 2014 at 4:26pm

Glad you have it flying. We'll have to work on that other 'black ops' project next. 

Comment by Joseph Aletky on October 31, 2014 at 6:36pm

@ Rob - I still have yet to find time to build a pixhawk heli, but that work is very important. Once I get both pixhawks installed and get the plane portion flying in auto I will send you an email-

Comment by Joseph Aletky on October 31, 2014 at 6:56pm

We have yet to get endurance numbers, but I have a few specs I can share:

AUW: 4.8kg

Amp Draw in hover: ~70 Amps

VTOL Props: 11" APC SF

VTOL Motors: 2216 800kv x 8

RTF Anaconda ESC, Motor and Servos

Slats and Flaps not installed but it is planned

Everything stays cool but VTOL System is operating at about 70% Throttle to hover

Booms can be had here: http://www.mcmaster.com/#2153t43/=uec6l6

Comment by Josh Welsh on October 31, 2014 at 10:53pm
Ha, I'm glad you posted it! Make sure you send over to Tim as well (if he hasn't already seen it) as I'm sure they'd get a kick as well!
Comment by Josh Welsh on October 31, 2014 at 10:54pm
Nevermind I just realized Kevin has already seen it, so I'm sure Tim and the rest of the gang there has too :) Way too go man!!


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