Sunday, March 23, 2014

VTOL Ornithopter

Now this is a bit of a terminology cluster... VTOL stands for Vertical Take Off and Landing; and an Ornithopter is any flapping winged thing that flies (aka, birds & insects).

This hot number was pieced together from an Air Hogs Avenger back in October of '08. The Air Hogs Avenger was a nice little 4-winged ornithopter with a little too much thrust-to-weight to remain unmodified. I gutted the system and used the wings, gearbox, and motor to make my own, cooler, ornithopter.

I made the airframe out of carbon rod and added elevator control. I also had to replace the radio system to support throttle/rudder/elevator control. Total weight, with battery, is 10.5g and the flight times are over 10 minutes.

This vehicle has the ability to take off and land on its tail, almost hover in place, cruise in level flight, and do loops. It is very responsive and aerodynamically quirky (not in a bad way). Flight stability is great, it can be flown with only rudder control by a novice or flown mildly acrobatically by someone with a bit more skill. Its a really great, weird, vehicle that I have been flying since I built it. I really enjoy cruising this around.

The elevator and rudder control were originally done with magnetic rotary actuators but I have since replaced them each with 400mg linear servos of my own design. 

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