The Planning Begins


ITU Tilt-Rotor VTOL UAV concept from here



A good mate and I were talking a few weeks ago about the AR Drone and it's possible application in scouting for our hunting trips. We discussed putting bigger batteries in it and using a directional antenna to increase it's range and flight time but we came across several problems, the first being the fact that by the time we unpacked it and flew it out to it's maximum range, one of us could have just walked over and taken a look for ourselves.


This prompted a discussion on what our actual requirements were and after seeing a few youtube clips of aggressive maneuvering by quadrotors, we decided to build. My mate has an electronics background and mine is IT so we figured we'd be able to work the project ourselves. I fly micro helicopters as well as R/C planes and have built several from scratch.


Our requirements are these:

  1. Man Portable
  2. VTOL
  3. Autonomous flight via waypoints
  4. Ability to loiter
  5. Video Feed

So from here... the Planning begins.

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  • *Update* Blog didn't get approved yet (no picture). I will resubmit with a picture....
  • Mick I will go ahead and start a new blog.

    Nicolas, we are moving to a new blog :) Thx for all your helpful input, I am sure we can benefit from your project as well...

  • Hi Nicholas! I understand your dilemna since I've gone thru the same recently... My solution was to buy an airframe (SkyFun Jet) and parts for a tricopter to experiment with, and design the airframe in parallel.

    BTW, I use Google Sketchup to design the frame.

    I plan on using APM/Oilpan as the autopilot - I've digged thru the code already and think it should be possible to modify it so that the transition between hovering and flying is handled by the autopilot. Obviously, this is a big project by itself, so I'll be working step by step :

    1) finish the airframe

    2) make it fly in hover mode (with the correct APM/PID settings)

    3) make it fly in plane mode (with the correct APM/PID settings)

    4) figure out how to extend the APM code so that both modes are supported in the same code (i.e with a switch). Transitions would still be done manually.

    5) figure out how to make APM code do the transitions from hover to flying mode and vice versa
  • Unfortunately the current range of commercially available solar cells are far too heavy for flight. I've heard of an experimental solar powered high altitude drone (Full sized) but at thier current power to weight ratio, you'd use more power lugging them through the air than they can produce ie a negative effect.

    My guidence system I am unsure about at this stage. I'm not going to be able to nail that down until I firm up my airframe. I was initially looking at gumstix modules (As I have used these in the past for a gunnery project) but I think I would be writing my own software from scratch if I went that way and that is beyond my skill-set.


    Other than that I think the APM is the way to go. There appears to be a lot of people using them so there should be some Guru floating around the netz


  • Well, before I go to bed (geez I am using this blog like a chat room) I just wanted to know what thought you have put into the autopilot/guidance system. In other words which one.....
  • Oh and actually I was looking at the other guy named Nicolas pic, however the one from the blog is definately awesome as well.
  • You know what else is funny is my name is Nicholas James Winkel, Nick James :). I met a customer for my business today too, named Mick.
  • Yeah I saw that after I had posted and redid the post... try reading it now, I changed some of the info.....

    I like AHARD I earlier had been thinking of calling it The Hunter Gatherer however it won't be doing any gathering.... lol, I better shutup before we get side tracked and find a way for it to pick up the game after we shoot it.....


    Yours can be AHARD v1 and mine will be AHARD v2 or something like that. That's fine if we make a new workplace and blog.


  • Mr Winkel, that pic up the top, as awsome as it is, does not belong to me. There's a link underneath the picture showing it's name and where I pinched it from the interwebs :)

    All my drawings are done in 2B pencil on my drawing board... I'm old school that way :)

    I'm more than happy to share a blog on what I have named the AHARD (I think we should maybe start a new blog and workspace for the project.)


    AHARD stands for Autonomous Hunting And Recon Drone


  • LOL if i didn't order the stuff already I probably would still be searching for airframes and not try to kink out other things....
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