SurVoyeur mk-II - From the Nampilot..

        Here is the latest addition to our Namibian stable

                            - SurVoyeur mk-II.


2.7m wing span, Tapered Clark Z

Fitted with IR gimballed camera ( FLIR TAU-2 in own gimbal, around 700grams)

4 Cell Lipo, 10,000m mAH, 500KV motor, 15X12 prop

approx 70minutes flight time at 5kg @ 18m/s airspeed, 92minutes @ 14m/s.

Fully Auto-launch / Auto land, fitted with Nampilot Autopilot

Fully Composite, Carbon Spread Tow wings, with flaps and ailerons.

landing touchdown airspeed 8m/s @ 10deg angle of attack.




You May Remember the mk-I plane--


Similar to mk-II, but 1.8m wingspan, straight wings, no flaps. See my old blog on the SurVoyeur A/C...

Mk-II wings were made from molds, made from accurate wing plugs. Fuselage is also made from molds.Flies like a dream!

Currently in use by the Namibian Ministry in Night missions in an anti-poaching role in the national parks.


The Nampilot.

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  • Hello Gi-Joe ;-)

    I am creating a photogrammetry pro activity and school in the south of France, with all due certifications...

    I may be interested in purchasing / reselling the MK2 + NX1000

    Can you pls contact me ?

    Thank you 

  • 11 days is not so bad. I thought it would take considerably longer.

    Sanding is probably the most unpleasant job in composite fabrication.

  • Martin, from cutting foam cores to complete moulds - 11 days solid work. Sanding the plugs was 2 days each - Very sore arms..


  • I made wing plugs, glass (4mm thick) covered foam cores, and sanded them to within a hair's fit of multiple templates!

    How many hours did you spend on those plugs and molds? That's quite a bit of work.

  • Very cool! Good looking too ;)

  • Thank You for your kind words Trung. I certainly am enjoying what we do, and applying it in nature conservation is very close to our hearts here in Africa.

    Take care,



  • 100KM


    Thanks for the answers.  I've been looking through your blog posts all day.  The work and documentation are outstanding.  Thanks for putting in the effort.  I did not expect to find such excellent wing bagging instructions there.  From developing the airframe, to the autopilot, to radio/telemetry antennas, and even the camera gimbal... you really have acquired quite an extensive skillset.  Congrats on the excellent execution of your designs and good luck on your missions.



  • Hi MJ,

    No video's yet - coming soon! I am a poor videographer - mostly get my shoes, or the ground, or my hand, in the picture - always to focused on whats happening to video it! We will have a commercial video group come do a video for as on the A/C and the related application, on site, next month, so that will be better!  How is your side going?? How did the balloon and directional antenna work out?  

    We are having some issues with the FIR IR cameras, and for 6 days now, the FLIR technical staff are ignoring me, so I am not a happy chappy! Maybe have to look at some other suppliers!

    Hope you are also still having fun.



  • @Andrew-  

    No Alumnium moulds; this one done the hard way - I made wing plugs, glass (4mm thick) covered foam cores, and sanded them to within a hair's fit of multiple templates!  Lots of sanding and filler to get smooth surfaces, and then gloss coat on the plugs. Then I made heavy fibreglass / gelcoat moulds from the plugs. The moulds are thick, about 16mm glass thickness, and strengthened with steel re-inforcing. These are used then to clamp slightly oversized foam cores between the carbon spread tow skins. Works very well. 

    @ Martin-

    The first production run of 8 aircraft are all due to be used as night flyers with IR cameras, so no painting to be done.

    @ Trung-

    The camera is fitted - it retracts into the belly, and is deployed in flight - I have a blog as well showing the prototype of the gimbal 'ball' , take a look at that if interested. The gimbal line of sight is steered from the GCS, and the gimbal is stabilised in line of sight. I do not believe in winglets at the sort of reynolds numbers we fly at - very little to be gained, and more complexity in the packaging! Regarding video / telemetry, etc - 

    I use the 869MHz xBee-pro modules ( 300mW max) for the data/control/telemetry link. I designed a custom antenna for the aircraft ( fits in the 'bubble'  on the tail section, with the video antenna) On ground I use the same xBee module, with a J antenna. This combination gives me 30km range, line of sight. The video TX is 500mW, on 2.4GHz, with my own skew planar antenna on the aircraft, and I use a 10 turn helical antenna on ground, fitted into a tracker that follows the aircraft, providing a clean video image at 18km, and a (useable) slight snowy image at 26km.

    The max Height we have flown at is 2000m ASL, in 45deg C. At that alt we fly easily at 14m/s for max endurance, with a 6deg angle of attack ( wing). Stall speed at 200m ASL is 7m/s with full flaps, at 16deg AOA.  

    I have put some of the info on the datalink modules and the tracker antenna in some blogs here - problem is that comments and blogs are wiped of the page so quickly that people looking for ideas never get a chance to see the stuff!

    It has been a lot of fun developing!


    Th Nampilot

  • Moderator

    Nice one :)

This reply was deleted.