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This project has been a very interesting first foray into UAV design. I still need to get some ground-to-air footage of it flying but at least I got to test the nose mounted camera…

Foam Board UAV – The on-board footage

I think the general theme recently has been the ongoing windy weather so I won’t go into it again!

I had made a few modifications to the foam board UAV – adding some down-thrust to the motor and also moving the battery into the mid fuselage so I could remove a lot of nose weight. So, with a quick check of the controls I started recording and threw the model… straight into the ground!

Fortunately the damage was very minimal and I picked it up and chucked it again. Being a pusher motor the single hand-launch is a bit of a trial but in the end the takeoff was a lot smoother than some commercial UAV launches I’ve seen.

Flight observations

Obviously there is a little “jello” on the footage but I am putting this down to the fact that the GoPro mount had come loose slightly during the initial failed launch. Only another flight will confirm this.

I have noticed that the model “crabs” a lot in the wind. I think this is because of two things:

  1. There is a very short moment arm from wing to tail. This reduces the stabilising effect of the vertical component of the fins.
  2. The angle of the V-tail is actually quite shallow so the model may be lacking a little vertical tail area.

The only way to test this would be to replace the tail with a more acutely angled V-tail. This UAV might also benefit with a little bit of rudder/aileron mixing to coordinate the turns more.

Of course, flying it in something less than a gale might prove different results! On the subject of high-wind performance I was really pleased to see how stable the footage is.

Where to next?

The Hobbyking APM2.5 clone is now ready to go with full telemetry added. I have it working on both my Sony Vaio Ultrabook and my Google Nexus 7 tablet (mission planner and droid planner respectively).

Now we have achieved a solid flight performance I will begin retrofitting the autopilot ready for the first fully autonomous flight.

Watch this space!

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