Tandem Heli flies autonomously with Pixhawk

Uses two Align Trex 800s, back to back, with Pixhawk controlling everything. 

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Comment by John Dennings on June 23, 2015 at 2:37pm

Potential flight times and payload capacities have got to be amazing!

Comment by Jason Franciosa on June 23, 2015 at 2:52pm

Wow awesome work!

Comment by Spencer Touchie on June 23, 2015 at 3:54pm

Awesome!

Comment by Jake Warren on June 23, 2015 at 4:00pm
Very cool.
Are the drive systems linked, like in a chinook, so if one engine fails the other can still power both rotors?
Also, it looks like the rotors overlap. Are they timed to miss each other or are they vertically offset from one another?
Comment by Rob_Lefebvre on June 23, 2015 at 5:12pm

They don't appear to be using much vertical offset.  So must be timed.  Chinooks are both timed, and staggered vertically.

Certainly is pretty cool to see this.  I think it's from the guys who have made UGCS.  Wonder if they're planning on contributing their code?

I had wanted to do one of these for a while.  But never got around to it.  I'm not sure the performance numbers (flight time) would best a good single rotor setup.  This is borne out by looking at the full-scale helicopter market as well.  The largest, heaviest lift helicopters are single rotor.  A big problem with tandem, is the drivetrain required to keep the two huge rotors in time ends up weighing quite a lot.

Where I do think tandems are the indisputed champion, would be payload per frame size.  If you had a requirement such as "how much can I lift with a machine that folds up to fit in the back of a pickup?" nothing, nothing can beat the disk area of a tandem heli.  And that may well translate to payload.

Comment by Terrence Williams on June 23, 2015 at 8:34pm

This is intriguing.  

Comment by Gary McCray on June 23, 2015 at 9:30pm

Really cool achievement and I am sure looking at it mechanically timed and synchronized with a geared drive shaft.

Variable pitch lets you do some nifty things.

I did notice some interesting sounds as it accelerated and performed various maneuvers, I would guess that the rotors tend to periodically mess  up the air for each other under various flight conditions.

I also agree wit Rob a single rotor , possibly even with slightly less swept area will always outperform - outlast it all things being equal, nothing beats prop/rotor diameter.

Of course those big rotors do build up a huge amount of inertia and can cause serious lethal damage when crashing or out of control.

When those big Russian ones crash you would be much happier being several miles away.

Best,

Gary

Comment by Andrew Rabbitt on June 23, 2015 at 11:58pm

That's really cool to see in action!

If you're going to time your rotors though, surely a Synchropter is a better option from a frame/weight perspective, but it takes more to do.  I'd love to give it a go one day, which is why there's rotor heads lying about on my desk for some time now... 

Comment by Hans H. on June 24, 2015 at 12:22am
Can they do this with a petrol engine?

Wonder what weighs most, a larger framework or system for overlapping the propeller? Non-overlapping will likely have better efficiency of the propellers.
Comment by uavfans on June 24, 2015 at 4:54am

great,that's great,It proves that pixhawk  is all about.

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