Thursday, May 13, 2010

Crash Test with Fail-Safe

Yesterday we tested the fail-safe parachute a few times and it worked well - reducing the planes crash velocity significantly. This was our first crash (out of many over the past 8 months) which left the ready to fly after wards. Video below.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Fail-safe parachute test

Today Tucker and I tested our 30'' nylon fail-safe parachute on the Manta airframe at Colby. The idea here is that we can remotely release the parachute while the plane is crashing. Once released the parachute will slow down the plane and we'll be able to land it safely. Here's a video of an initial test.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Downsizing plane

Over the past two months Foster and I have crashed our new flying wing airframe twice. Although the plane is made out of foam it still carries weight in the 5 amp battery and Pentax Optio camera on board. Unfortunately in our last crash our camera and battery catapulted forward towards the autopilot circuit board in the front of the plane and damaged some of the electrical components. Over the summer, in order to mitigate damage during crashes, Foster, Tucker, and I will downsize the weight of the plane by using a smaller flying wing and a battery with 1/5 of the amperage. These changes will downsize the plane weight to under 2 pounds. If we do crash again the decrease in weight should seriously mitigate any potential damage to on-board components.

In addition we will integrate a fail safe parachute into the plane which can be deployed during a crash. The 30 inch nylon parachute should decrease the plane's crash speed significantly. Here's a video which uses a similar parachute system.