RQ-11 Midwest Drones Project (Part 3 & 3.5 NEW!)

Part 1,2,3,3.5^^^^^^^^^^^  (4 Coming Soon!)

RQ-11 MidWest Drones Project

My short term goal for this aircraft is to have the RQ-11 Kit fully assembled and operating as an ROA (Remotely Operated Aircraft).  My overall goal though is to buy a ardupilot from diydrones and make it into a fully functioning UAV.  Learning programming through my college classes I want to create a fully functioning UAV that has a flight time of around an hour or more that could be used to track animals and photograph agriculture.  

What I have left to do:

  1. Add digital camo to parts of the wing
  2. Add servos and connect wire cables to rudder and elevator
  3. Possibly add ardupilot
  4. Possibly add FPV flying feature

I'm looking for suggestions on any mods or upgrades I can do to this RQ-11.  I hope the videos are enjoyable and educational.  

  • Part 4 will include fully operating plane with other possible surprise DIY Mods. 

Views: 1582


Moderator
Comment by Brian on January 12, 2013 at 12:15pm
You really need to upgrade the horizontal tail. The rudder is too weak also and neither will survive a bumpy landing. The horizontal tail will tip apart if you catch even light grass and the rudder is easily sheared during side to side forces during landing.

I cover my rq's tail with simple thin balsa sheet. That didn't work for the horizontal as the plane is heavy and the wood tail is too light weight. I used coroplast and both rudder and elevator can be removed.

I have built two of these and rebuilt one, the stock tail won't last long so fix it first. I am sure you have watched videos on the military version. See how fast they come in during landing? That is why the are made to pop apart during landings, it keeps stuff from breaking. Ours still come in hot, but the are not made out of kevlar so... But IM working on a kevlar replacement... :)
Comment by Joshua Johnson on January 12, 2013 at 12:50pm

Thanks for the tips Brian! I've been looking into different ways to reinforce elevator,rudder, and tail piece.  I like the idea of lightweight balsa.  Once I for sure decide on how I am going to do it I will update the blog and include how I reinforced it in my next video.  Also I am working on a Kevlar replacement at the moment for the fuselage(Digital Camo) I am testing out some different mixtures and such and will also include that in video part 3 & 4! :)  Keep me posted on any good ideas or tips you have on the RQ-11 you seem to know a lot about them and I would love your advice. 


Moderator
Comment by Brian on January 12, 2013 at 10:48pm

I've considered using some carbon to build a frame for the elevator and rudders, then build a mold for a carbon or kevlar tail/rudder skin to fix to the stout frame.  That way if the composite joints failed the skin could be lifted and the frame repaired.  

To be honest, the lightness of the tail that is lost when you build a better setup is really negligible, these guys need a lot of weight up front anyway.  I run a 3 cell 5000 with a gopro and a small box of pennies (about $.35) and just fly level.  

I really like your digital camo, what is it and where do you get it from?  I think you should use the coroplast type tail, make some really good sized lightening holes and put a couple of carbon spars on the leading edge and one inside the coroplast in the cell prior to the hing, then cover it in that cool digital camo.

You mentioned that the plane may be hard to see if the wing is camo, it's hard to see anyway. I just used some self-adhering wing covering in red and yellow.  It helps a lot and does not take away from any coolness the wing already has (although I've not added the gray/black tiger stripes yet )...

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