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skylark

Purpose built RPV project

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A little personal background, I began flying about 10 years and a few years back switched exclusivly to Electric. About 4 years ago I watched some video titled "FPV flying". That was it I was amazed and had the grandest ideas about becoming rich flying my little easystar for money. I was going to herd cattle with it, find the yeti and photo him taking a dump in the woods, I'd locate all the florida panthers, name them and sell the coverage to discovery channel, I couldn't believe the technology was available and not being used for...well everything. It didn't take me too long to realize that this wasn't going to happen. FPV Flying was more of a challenge then I had imagined. I thought that with my little shopping list I was going to be flying 4-5 miles easy. First flight was 1500' from antenna tops and 500' into the flight I was lost. I used the video drops to estimate which way was home and was lucky enough to recover white knuckled and sweating profusely. I took a step back, practiced with the easystar, learned the area by studying features on google earth, bought my first osd (DPCAV.com's Inspire) Huge hunk of gear to stuff in the ez but it was cool to see those coordinates and alt, move up to the blackstork and awaited the release of RVOSD II, Got the rangevideo osd and was in heaven, had an old set of ir sensors from a trainer in the attic and was amazed when I had a working AHI. I bought the gen 3, downloaded the waypoint sequencer and this got me thinking about building my first UAV. To date I've owned, used, crashed, fried, modified and mangled just about every piece of commercially available FPV gear on the market and think that a healthy heroin habit may be cheaper than this addiction but a whole lot less fun.

This project began about a year ago as I was carving out the center of yet another foamy trying to shove 10 lbs of electronics and 5 lbs of lipo's in a 2 lb piece of flying foam. I was truly amazed at the recent flood of fpv products that have surfaced in the past year alone and not a single purpose built aircraft to stick it all in. I was literally shoving 1000+ dollars worth of gear into a modified Easy Glider. I looked at the MAJA but after reading the reviews and the 200+ euro price tag, moved on. I looked into a few flying wing designs but didn't see anything that interested me. I was then watching future weapons and the Isreali Skylark UAV was being featured. I almost laughted at the simplicity of the design. Someone took a 2 meter electric glider, slapped a fancy 2 liter bottle to the bottom and called it a UAV.

Knowing my limitations as a builder I thought this is the one for me. Well over the past year I've produced 5 takes on the skylark. In short the design is much more challenging then I though (always is) Sky1 flew once and slammed into the side of my F-150 and shattered the rear window. Back to the drawing board. Sky2 flew 4 times but the belly pod landings proved too much for the coupling design and was retired as a partial success.

Sky 3 was heavy & Ugly not to mention constructed in a way that would have any AMA rep ready to revoke my card for life. Full aluminum stick fuselage, Light weight aluminum sheeted wings (used Roofing material over CF reinforced balsa wings) all this being said it flew and flew well. At 2 meters and almost 8 lbs it was like a flying tank. Now I'm a responsible pilot and am lucky to have access to 10 sq miles of swamp to over fly. Nothing to hurt out here besides my pride an a few alligators. I sold the flying tank and began improving on the design. 4 & 5 were sold before maiden after PM'ing pics to a few interested parties. Haven't heard anything back on either of them but sometimes no news is good news. Number 6 is mine! I am building it to travel out west this summer. I want the ULTIMATE Long Endurance Airframe and this promises to be it.

The design is simple. Replace the skylark's carbon fiber fuselage with a piece of aluminum square tube from home depot (big money saver and with 3 meters and 7+ sq ft of wing area who cares about the weight. Mount vert stab to piece of Alum U channel for same channel used for HZ Stab and wingset depending on the wings used this is either a piece of cake or nightmare when dihedral is intro'd to the center section. Next build a fancy dancy little pod using whatever you find around the office, homedepot, the craft store, the container store etc... using the alum u channel to mount to, use cotter pins to attach everything, run your wires throught the square tube and presto you have your very own skylark. Well almost.

What I've learned thus far is that the ability to shift the pod forward and aft along the rail really makes CG'ing a piece of cake. Also having everything attach to the fuselage stick with pins makes the setup and breakdown very easy and traveling with a 3 meter RPV can be accomplished with a standard rifle case. Although they may look at you funny going through airport security. Can't wait to explain this one. Next is that the system becomes modular. I have knocked out center pod sections in a half hour so that I can fit more Lipo's or fit a rear facing camera in 15 seconds with a vid splitter from Range Video. I have plans to carry more than one set of wings by putting a coupler in the fuselage to allow change of tail moment. Now I'll have a truly modular design with the ability to carry a massive payload for some serious long range flying.

Next thing to tackle is spoilers, huge freeking spoilers so that I can attempt the Deep Stall type landing, that is without the real versions airbag. Its tough enough to survive without it and as long as everthing shock proofed inside it should do fine.

I'll post video soon, well not that soon as I've got 3 pods to build and hopefully my own finished soon.

Pictured here is the guts for a 2 meter GP Spectra based porject. You have RVOSD III, Immersion RC's Tiny Telemetry (bought before eagle tree's eagleeyes release...should have waited) 2 Thunder Power 4200Mah 3s2p for a total of 8400Mah and hopefully 1hr flights, Thomas Sherrer LR UHF RX, DPCAV.Com's 900Mhz 500mw Tx with low pass filter, one 2.4Ghz 1W Lawmate TX (Ground station has two patch antenna, 1 8dbi 900Mhz the other 2.4Ghz 14dbi patch) 1.5dbi rubberduckys on both (any thoughts on this verse's a 3Dbi Ducky? Does the 3 have the nice round doughnut shaped array or does it look more like the 5dbi's daisy?) Sensors for the AHI, 80Amp ESC, lost model alarm, and some neet little led's to make the gps lexan windows glow...post-5937-126963484229_thumb.jpg

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A pic of number III and my current project number 6. Number 3 had a pod made of aluminum candle stick molds. Heavy but indestructable... Is that AMA Legal? Wings were skinned shortly after.

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Great project. That is exactly what I need. Will you sell it as a kit? How much?

Nick

www.nicoleto.com

Hey Nick,

I can put something together for you. Price depends on what you want. I just did a custom Carbon Fiber 3 meter version (which is going to SUCK for fpv, but the guy insisted) for just under 800.00 I also did a really cool 2 meter build for a kid who invaded my hidden fpv site for 45.00 (he provided the wingset)

Just let me know if your looking for a simple ARF or RTF or RTFPV and I'll see what I can do. I've also done a waterproof PVC Pod that a guy uses while offshore fishing. He claims he's flown 12 miles on 433Mhz (sherrer's uhf system) while 25 miles offshore but I still haven't seen video.

You can email me at RPVSolutions-AT-live.com

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