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March 12, 2007



Hey, I'm no expert - my first model airplane with a motor cut my finger and I gave up after that - but you might want to chat with these guys:


If they can fly one across the Atlantic via autopilot, I'm sure they have some ideas! Their website is a little out of date, but they say there was an update this month so someone must be around.


There are two big hurdles I would like to see overcome: range and duration. I want to be able to fly for 30+ minutes with a range of 1-10 miles from the base station. What about using 3G cell phone technology for the data link between vehicle and base station for more range? The duration aspect is tougher. I don't think you could get 30+ minutes using battery, it would have to be fuel-based.


30 minutes on a battery is hard for self propelled planes, but depending on the hardware a nice fast glider can fly for a really long time. if the autopilot is really good, you can probably manually take it up to a really really friggin high altitude by hand (we've had ours in clouds before, lost sight of it, had to nosedive just to find it again); then the autopilot's waypoints will dive it to pick up some speed, snap the pictures, and then turn the motor back on for a few seconds to regain a bit of alitude (the speed helps with climbing real fast)

the model that we use has 2 cameras, and doing aerobatics we can still keep it up over 25 minutes with 1 full battery. Doing lazy loops you can keep it up almost indefinetly, esp on a warm day. Gliders are DESIGNED for this sort of stuff. :-D


I meant lazy circles, not loops. we fly in about a 1/4th mile circle around a huge field, sometimes using only the cameras to fly it because it gets out of visual range. we have one camera pointed straight down, and one camera aimed forward at a 45 degree downward angle (or so, it might be only a 30 degree angle).

FYI we use 2.4ghz cameras, a cantenna, and a laptop. I've been bugging my friend to get a GPS for it, but he's into helicopters now, so the glider project is on standby. i am going to talk to him about teh lego autopilot though. :-)

bharat bhushan sahoo

i want to buy this please give me the details and the procedure to buy it


Love it.
That's the world keeping you humble.

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it's the best and cheapest project i have seen.it's so lucky to own it :)
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thanks good comments


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great, thanks..

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Sounds like a good show, hope Sebastian found his crankyness again. He`s been slipping off the scale lately so Johns had to pick up the pace,and we all know he can do that very well. Great work!

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The Long Tail by Chris Anderson

Notes and sources for the book

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