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Performance design

Having now worked for a few years on the development of the Raptor drone series I thought I share some thoughts on the design process and impact this has on performance.

When initially started designing for this series of drones the priority matrix was reduced to a single design element... ie performance. By that I mean maximizing the aerodynamic efficiency of the platform for optimized endurance flight and boy did it work well.

For very slow flight there is single element in the design process that dictates endurance and this for powered flight is wingloading. If you fly slow enough, say for example at 14 m/s drag is not really a consideration and induced drag can be optimized. Once you start flying faster the drag increases and for optimized results everything that can be done should be done to get the most out of your aircraft.

For this reason the fuselage that looks almost identical to that of the V1 German bomber is designed using the NLFM approach, ie natural laminar flow. In order to achieve the maximum lift out of the wing area, which was scaled to achieve low powered flight, the airfoils where thickened similar to powered full scale aircraft at ~ 13% thickness. This is important and probably one of the differentiating factors among other civilian drones in the same category.

In order to reduce the tail area the wings were optimized in order to reduce the pitching moment, this reduces the requirement for a large tail moment to achieve stability. Essentially this allowed to put together aerodynamically a flying wing that looks like a traditional layout aircraft.

The angle of attack of the main wing was at maximum power factor so efficiency is optimized for level flight, again another factor to increase endurance. For the Raptor EV this was achieved at ~ 5 degrees angle of attack.

The high aspect ratio further increases efficiency for the same wing area and the adverse yaw affect during turns was filtered out by differential ailerons and coordinated rudder input.

At ~16 m/s we initially had excellent stability at gusty conditions and because as I wrote above this was "essentially" a flying wing pitch stability was more than good. However maximum endurance was at 14m/s for this system and at 8 kg all up this clearly displayed early onset of tip stall that was demonstrated by small yaw movements as the increased drag during tip onset and the large moment due to the large aspect ratio had enough impact. However over the last year we worked on maximizing performance even further by working on dual wing tips similar to those used by Boeing. The results were excellent and the aircraft can fly at 14 m/s at gusty conditions and in addition we gained ~ 4-6 % on performance. Power consumption by the way at these conditions was only averaging 4-12 Amps at 25 Volt. This was achieved by a lengthy power optimization process as we had to achieve high efficiency requirements for two previous customers Cella Energey Cella and RaptorUAS  and with Horizon Energy Systems Horizon and RaptorUAS .

Essentially power train optimization was achieved though increase of the motor mass and appropriate adjustment of propeller and voltage configuration.

Raptor was eventually VTOLized :) to increase operational efficiency and easy of use




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JJRC 1000A Quadcopter Drone Remember?

This is a fantastic little RC Quadcopter Drone that retails at under $30. It looks good outside at night or indoors with dimmed lights. This is another perfect RC Quadcopter Drone that is most suited for beginners. You have a great choice of five different flying modes and the JJRC Quadcopter Drone can perform amazing acrobatics.

Flyin' Ryan one of the most respected RC Quadcopter Drone Reviewers says this “Other than having a slightly slow yaw rate; there is nothing bad about this Quadcopter. It is stable, quiet, does great flips, and has awesome LEDs which light up from inside the body and illuminate each entire half of the quad in two Different colors.”

And here is another Review of the JJRC Lightning UFO from Frequent Flyer RC


Quadcopter Drone Flying Characteristics

All in all the JJRC Quadcopter Drone is a very robust, stable flyer. Changing the direction the Quadcopter is pointing towards (the yaw rate) is not spectacular in low rates but is quite acceptable in the top 100% mode. However when flying in this mode be aware any sharp movement on the right stick (mode 2 flying left hand throttle stick) the RC Quadcopter Drone will enter into acrobatic auto-flip mode and perform tight flips.

The LED lights will start a flashing sequence when the battery life is running low. Be warned you don’t get much time left to land the Quadcopter Drone so it is better to fly this model using a timer. Lipo batteries last longer if you don’t run them right down so using a timer has double benefits. Remember to let the motors cool down if you have spare batteries ready to go.

Quadcopter Drone Body Styling

The body shell of the JJRC 1000A resembles that of the much larger DJI Phantom and is a welcome change from all the Hubsan X4 look-a-likes. The propeller blade shapes are of a very similar shape to those used on the Walkera QR Ladybirds albeit slightly larger.

Quadcopter Drone Transmitter

A real plus with this model is you get a ‘Proper’ sized Remote Control RC Quadcopter Drone Transmitter. Nearly all under $30 Micro and Mini Quadcopter Drones have tiny transmitters that are OK for smaller hands but can cause stress for those with larger hands. It is therefore plain to see that this under $30 Drone is a great learning tool and will teach any beginner the basic Quadcopter flying skills. It will also prepare YOU well if and when YOU want to move up to bigger Quadcopter Drones.

JJRC Quadcopter Drone Review from Drone Flyers

We took the JJRC 1000A outside today and had a blast with it. We can’t get over how quiet it is unlike some of the other Quadcopter Drones in this class. The lightweight body shell and larger size propellers don’t seem to strain the motors and in 100% mode the flips are awesome. It was a pleasure to fly, fast and easy to control.

Over the next few weeks the Drone Flyers Team are going to put this RC Quadcopter Drone through some rigorous testing. Having flown the JJRC 1000A indoors over Christmas and studied all the Best Drone Reviews of this model we are certain that this is one of the finest under $30 Quadcopter Drones you can buy.

Quadcopter Drone Description

Item Name: JJRC 1000A Quadcopter Drone
Frequency: 2.4G
Channel: 4
Gyro: 6 axis
Battery: 3.7V 250mAh lipo
Flight time: 5-8 minutes
Quadcopter Drone Battery charging time: about 40 minutes
Control distance: about 80-100 meters
Size: 12 x 12 x 2.5cm
Color: White

Quadcopter Drone Features

Latest 6 axis gyro system
Mini size, super light weight
With LED light function
Compatible with transmitter of V202 V222 V262 V272 JXD 385 388 X30 X30V F180 L6036 L6038

Quadcopter Drone Package includes

1 x JJRC 1000A Quadcopter Drone
1 x LCD Quadcopter Drone transmitter
1 x 3.7V 250mah battery
1 x USB charging cable
4 x spare blades
1 x Quadcopter Drone manual

More quadcopter DIY article here :http://www.rcdronegood.com/

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Thermal Camera For Drone,With 50mm Lens And Tracking & Geotagging

Sky Eye-T50 is a 3-axis high stabilized gimbal with thermal camera.The thermal camera is with 640*480 resolution,25HZ,allows you to detect targets in the night or low visibile conditions,and provides you with priceless information.Furthere more,the thermal camera comes with a 50mm lens,which will enable you to get very clear thermal image even you are 500 meters away from the target.High-performance 3-axis gimbal is developed based on FOC(field-oriented control) technology,which will give you crystal clear video footage.

Sky Eye-T50 is using the most advanced thermal tracking technology,with which you will be able to track the target very easily.How it works: put the object you want to track in the screen,move the cursor to the object and lock it via controller,and then the camera will track it automatically.

Another big feature for Sky Eye-T50 is that the gimbal will geotag the video streaming and photos,also gimbal Yaw/Pitch angle,height,time information will be displayed on camera OSD,this is really important when you are conducting missions like rescue and search.

Sky Eye-T50 comes with an amazing advantage that the gimbal can not only be controlled via PWM signal,but also serial command.Also gimbal status(like Yaw/Pitch/Roll angle,zoom position etc) can be obtained by sending serial command to the gimbal via its serial port,which is really useful for precise gimbal control and system integration.

Sky Eye-T50 provides an outstanding wiring hub design for RC receiver and video output port,which makes wiring pretty easily.Also the gimbal offers 2 smart speed modes:FAST speed and LOW speed.Fast speed mode is used for small zooming range,which makes the gimbal control sensitive and quick.LOW speed mode is used for large zoom range,will enable you to target the object more accurately.


1)800grams,light weight
2)Thermal camera:640*480 resolution,25HZ,50mm lens
3)Digital zoom:1X,2X,4X,8X
4)HDMI and Ethernet video out
5)Auto object tracking
7)PWM control and serial command control
8)Convenient wiring hub for RC receiver and video output
9)3-aixs high stabilized gimbal system
10)Adjustable control speed: SLOW speed for large zoom range,accurate.FAST speed for small zoom range,sensitive and quick.
11)One key back to center

Product link:http://www.yangdaonline.com/sky-eye-t50-3-axis-gimbal-for-thermal-camera-with-50mm-lens/

Product Photos

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Solar Rechargeable Cyclocopter Blimp

Please support the campaign on Indiegogo: https://igg.me/at/cycloblimp/x/10619348

My team composed of University of Maryland undergraduate and graduate students want to demonstrate the viability of a solar-rechargeable cyclocopter blimp (Cyclo-Blimp) configuration for future humanitarian missions. Cyclo-Blimp can be used for disaster relief efforts such as surveillance for people trapped in inaccessible areas and delivery of critical medical supplies. With solar-recharging capability, the vehicle would be able to maintain longer flight times and cover longer distances. As an electric vehicle with cyclorotor propulsion system, Cyclo-Blimp has zero carbon emissions and low acoustics which allows it to operate in urban environments.

I've previously demonstrated that the cyclorotor is capable of providing vectored thrust and is more efficient than conventional propellers with similar disk loading at small scales. With reduced acoustics, Cyclo-Blimp could operate in urban settings. Here is a video of a successful stable flight:


If funded, we would like to reach out to form an interdisciplinary team. Our goal is to successfully develop the Cyclo-Blimp for disaster relief efforts and also provide an opportunity for students to gain hands-on experience. Some of our members were part of the solar powered helicopter team (formerly Gamera, the human powered helicopter team):



Thanks for looking! Please spread info about our campaign :) Once we get to $1,000 in contributions, we're hoping to reach out to major companies.

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New rugged hand-held GCS with the ultimate modularity

We have a new Android based fully rugged ground control station format for some serious UAV/USV work. We’ve been calling it simply the RHH, and it was developed with extensive modularity in mind from scratch. As the supporting and enthusiastic community of DIYdrones looks more and more like the primary meeting place of professional unmanned platform developers, rather than just DIY-ers and hobbyists, I think there’s some interest in this level of GCS integration here, as well.

Because operating only in fair weather is a luxury not all users can afford, we had to come up with a fairly light hand-held controller that does the job under any circumstances. While we still mostly associate UAV flights with clear skies, there are always occasions where we just can't get away with a hobby grade RC and a tablet or a laptop. We also thought about surface systems, which are even more affected by the weather.

Protecting the GCS from the elements is just one of the points here, because when it comes to rain or extreme cold you would like to operate from some kind of shelter, at least a car or a van. That’s where the extreme modularity of this design comes in really handy. The entire RF unit of the RHH is removable from the bottom of the controller, and it can be mounted on your car roof, tripod, mast or even on the pan axis of an antenna tracker.

The field cable between the two modules is just a thin and flat twisted pair, which can be shut into the car door without messing with the seal. The cable can be of any practical length, because there is some serious voltage compensation and signal conditioning going on at both ends. Although it’s not exactly PoE (Power over Ethernet) in all versions, but we use a similar system for legacy hybrid AV/RC/modem controls, whereas there’s a fairly straightforward powered LAN connection for transparent IP RF links like Microhard or modified WLAN.

If you want to get rid of the single field cable, a wireless ground relay is also possible with most RF link combinations between the station and the RF box, but it may introduce unwanted latency in some signals. Safety is another concern when adding another RF hop to such systems, because typically low power ground relay signals are easy to block or screen accidentally. Of course, then you also have to power the RF box independently, preferably with built-in batteries.

Using such a rugged docking RF box design has another advantage when operating many different systems with the same station. Because the pinout for the bottom docking connectors is universal for all station and RF box variants in the 10” RHH line, changing bands, RF modules or even upgrading to high-end transparent IP links is just a snap without having to modify the station itself.

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