Skywalker: Best UAV platform ever? (I'm in love)

[UPDATE: Hooks has, er, hooked us up with a 10% discount at, for this and anything else they sell. Just use the discount code "diydrones". Awesome! Thanks Hooks!]

Thanks to Hooks for turning us on to the new Skywalker foam UAV platform. Mine just arrived and based on a quick inspection, I'm pretty sure this is the one for me! Everything about is totally optimized for a UAV, from the payload capacity to transportability. I'm blown away by how thoughtfully designed this one is.

It's got it all:
  • The durability of foam with all the interior room of balsa
  • Payload area right under the CG, so you don't have to worry about balance issues
  • Hand launchable, but still can carry pounds of payload
  • Breaks down easily for transport
  • Ailerons and optional flaps
  • Pusher, high-wing configuration, with servos outside to save room inside
  • Super tough EPO material
  • Easy to get to equipment with big bay doors on both sides
  • External mounting spots on rear fuselage for wireless transmitters (keeps them away from other electronics)
At $144, I think it's very fairly priced. I think this is one of the best made foam ARFs that I've seen, right up there with the Multiplex line. Don't forget to order the power pack at the same time.

Here's a shot of a prototype being flown by the creators:

Rather than give it a full review (I haven't flow it yet), I'll just give first impressions in pictures.

Views: 17682

Comment by Ron Jacobs on April 30, 2010 at 1:57pm
The Wing Loading 36.6g/dm2 seems a bit high. Does look nice.
Comment by Simon on April 30, 2010 at 5:39pm
Just ordered one of these.
Anyone know what size servos suit this plane?

Comment by Morli on May 1, 2010 at 12:12am
My Guess is HS81 or any mini servos , haven't received it yet

Comment by Robert Krogh (hooks) on May 1, 2010 at 2:07am
About servo:
Something like this will fit, but I'm working on finding something more quality for use with Gyro.

Comment by Robert Krogh (hooks) on May 1, 2010 at 4:05am
I had something like this in mind:

Henge MD933 digital servos have following technique characteristics:
1.Use metal gears, especially use steel material in output gear, which has better intensity , abrasion resistance and accuracy, makes sure servo’s output deviation very small after long time running.
2. Use high quality motors as FUTABA's, makes sure the servo's life longer, and tests prove it can continually run in high speed for 50 hours.
3.Use Japanese raw material to produce outer shell, which is more sturdy and durable and can bear 120℃ temperature.
4. Rapid response control, better acceleration.
5. Very nice consistency, center error less than ±0.5 degree, angle ±40 degree, biggest ±60 degree, error less than ±0.5 degree.
6. Have overload current protection function, even if the output gear is blocked, motor and electronics component will not be damaged.
7.Suitable to be used in 450 dynamoelectric helicopters to control the inclined dishes and in fixed wing airplanes
Operating voltage range: 4.5V—6.0V
Operating temperature range: -20℃ to +60℃
Operating speed: 0.10 sec/60℃ 6V 0.12 sec/60 ℃ 4.8V
Torque: 6V 4.8V
Idle current: 5mA at stopped
Running current range: 50-150mA
Block up to turn electric current: 600mA
Dead band width: ≤4usec
Angle deviation: center :<±0.5 degree; angle ±40 degree, error :<±0.5 degree
Size: 22.5×11.5×24.6mm
Weight: 12g
Bearing material: Metal
Gear material: 4 metal gears and 1 nylon gear
Connector wire length: 21cm

Price around 20 $

Comment by Morli on May 1, 2010 at 6:07am
ebay has some interesting prices on same or similar servos.
Comment by evilmacaw on May 1, 2010 at 7:23am
i got my tracking number this morning for my Skywalker now all a i have to do is get the motor package that is out of stock til the 7th when i ordered it wasn`t available either with the plane or separately then a few hours later there it was curses oh well

Hooks ,
the digital will not work with the original Ardupilot so i am led to believe

if i am wrong some one tell me please

Comment by Mark Colwell on May 1, 2010 at 8:05am
I use cheap $14 ParkZone digital servos just fine with ArduPilot original or 368 in a Stryker_II

3D Robotics
Comment by Chris Anderson on May 1, 2010 at 8:53am
Digital servos will work with ArduPilot, they're just a bad choice because they consume so much power. Totally unnecessary on a plane this size.

Don't fall for the notion that digital servos are "better". They're really only meant for aircraft that need very tight control, like 3D helis. They're actually worse for aircraft like our because of the constant current drain and buzzing on the ground when they're fighting gravity effects on control surfaces.
Comment by evilmacaw on May 1, 2010 at 9:57am
ah i am enlightened , thank you Cris :-)


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