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Apr 06 2011

Long Range Flying

Reading a post about a long range radio transmitter, I came across Cristi Rigotti's record FPV attempt.  I was inspired to reconsider the feasibility of a 1km flight.  I re-worked my flight path models for a variety of transect ranges.  50m transect spacing at 120m distance (above target, which we can do if we launch from a location at the same elevation as the target) gives a highly redundant image, but a very long flight path.  In planning the 'weave' pattern, I'd been assuming that we would tackle it in two flights, using an overlapping grid.  There is so much effort involved in launch and landing, though, that I'm not sure that is worthwhile.  So I scaled it up to 100m spacing in order to examine the redundancy.  It turns out, there are areas where 100m spacing covers the target plane from only two directions, but not the other two - not very good from a geometric accuracy, or complex geometry.  I decided to try an intermediate spacing, 70m, which offers half the aerial density of 100m but twice that of 50m.  It turns out that 70m spacing would allow for a 36km flight in order to synth a 1 square kilometer AOI, with all areas being shot from a variety of angles.  36km is well within the envelope of possibility for a larger airframe with a lot of batteries, far closer than I had realized. Assuming we forswear "crunchy" fiberglass and balsa, as well as expensive carbon fiber, and stick with foam, there are still a lot of options big enough to hold an indefinite number of batteries.  In particular, I would note the Skywalker 1.8m, and the Diamond 2500 2.5m.

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