TaigaCam, ROBUST plane for aerial photography

Don't do this at home with other planes!  ;-)

In the first episode motor, rudder and tail servos are not yet installed.

Plane is home made, there is no ready kit available.

- Wingspan 150 cm
- Length 120 cm
- Empty weight without batteries 1.3 kg
- Maximum load with batteries is about 1.2 kg
- Maximum takeoff weight is about 2.5 kg
- Flight speed is about 50 km/h, maximum about 80 km/h
- Flight travel with one 2100 mAh battery is about 7 km, flight time is approximately 8 minutes.
- In plane there is space for 4 batteries, so flight time is more than 30 minutes
- Space for autopilot, batteries and payload is about 30 x 7 x 5 cm.
- Wing is made from EPP foam, it is made with CNC hot wire cutter
- Fuselage is made from EPP foam and PVC pipe or fishing rod
- Price of the plane frame without servos and motor is less than 100 euros
- Price of the plane with good servos, motor and wires, but without batteries and remote control is about 395 euros in Finland, in other countries much, much less...
- The building time is about 8 hours

Plane homepage in Finnish: http://sites.google.com/site/taigacam/

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  • Wing length is 150 cm. It can not be much longer, there will be twisting of flutter problems.Wing chord is 25 cm. Wing material is 30g/l EPP.

  • Awesome plane!!! what is the wing cord????

  • Alpo, that's some great work you show!

    Would it be possible to increase range by using larger wing, I wonder?
  • In the plane there are batteries, weight is about 750g. In crash they hit to battery compartment wall, and it may break. In this picture early prototype crashed to the tree, and batteries broke the fuselage. Nowadays I use Power Tape to wrap the fuselage all around, and it is much stronger.


  • T3

    Exactly, because it all relates to wing loading and the chance of failed takeoff and teh amount of destructive mass inside the fuselage.

    Now the weight is distributed along the wings, then it will be concentrated. Our sad experience is that no styrofoam or other thing is indestructible above certain wing loading. When you make a truck out of a buggie, it is no longer that robust. Add to that relatively sturdy but not indestructible camera and you got the mix.

    By a success I understant you can go fly fro 30min without a scratch 8 times per day or do 2x2h missions. There is a tradeoff but IMO flying too often doesn't pays, you won't break wings but you loose a connector or scratch the camera lens after say 4 landings. Then what? Only half of the job.

  • Hi Kris,

    Sorry my english is not as fluent as your....

    could you please explain :

    "when made much heavier for endurance required for photmapping (some 1kg of batteries?), will start to break."


    You mean that beacuse it of its "heavier weight" , TaigaCam has more chances to break???



  • T3

    "Two UAV specialists didn't believe, that TaigaCam is robust."

    It was not me, let's make things clear. What I said is that TaigaCam is impressively robust that will outlast its payload and I have said that when made much heavier for endurance required for photmapping (some 1kg of batteries?), will start to break.


  • Hi Alpo,

    Have beeb following your discussion since the beginning !

    You did a great job on your Taigacam airplane design.


    I am going to use "google translate" a lot from UKrainian to English....

    By the way would you suggest me a good translator software for your native language ?

    Thanks for your contribution to the DIY community



  • Two UAV specialists didn't believe, that TaigaCam is robust. I made them test flight and made very ugly landing, but nothing broke. Then I made second flight, and tried to turn plane totally to side during landing. You can see this at 1:15 in the film. That was no accident, this was made advisedly. Camera box was on the fuselage, and it broke. Also battery compartment broke. Both of them were easy to repair. Unfortunately camera was not on, I would have got very nice film :-)


    Here is one other TaicaCam model. This fuselage you have seen at the first episode in the film.


  • You have a very soft house!
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