Prototype Tiltrotor Development using APM 2.5


Tiltrotor_1

We are a two-man team that just completed the first major phase of our yearlong APM 2.5 tiltrotor project. We wanted to keep things in the dark until we knew it had potential. Here is a quick summary, but if you’re interested in VTOL aircraft, we’d really like you to read our detailed project summary (attached PDF) and give us some feedback.

Just some of many major accomplishments include:

Design and manufacturing of a tiltrotor on a relatively low budget.

  • Utilized many free software applications to make educated design compromises
  • Utilized 3D printing to create complex flight control components
  • Slow, methodical engineering to identify problems and solutions before first flight

Stable hover with conversion to 23 m/s full airplane flight

  • Light hover maneuvering completed in STABILIZE
  • Hovering tested in LOITER
  • Thrust vector can be set at any intermediate angle and flown carefree all the way to airplane mode

Merged several significant portions of Arducopter and Arduplane software on APM 2.5 hardware

  • Heading strategies for quad and plane merged with unique tiltrotor control
  • Seamless blend of servo actuated aerodynamic surfaces, and 2 brushless motors to achieve stable flight at any speed and intermediate thrust angle

Tiltrotor 1 Prototype Stats:

  • All-up Gross Weight = 2.4 KG
  • Motors= 2x G15 810kv with 14 inch CF props / single 3300 mah battery
  • OGE Hover Power Required – 40 amps
  • Conversion Power Required – Thrust vector at 30 degrees from vertical 10 m/s = 20 amps
  • Airplane Power Required – 23 m/s = 30 amps

 

We have lots left to do, but would love to get some feedback to help guide us.

Here is what we have planned next:

Autonomous Flight

  •  Merge Copter and Plane navigation strategies to suit a tiltrotor.

Pixhawk

  • We’d love to incorporate the new capabilities of EKF, spline waypoints, terrain following ect someday. The APM 2.5 has not limited our development at all, and is still our bread and butter.

Tiltrotor 2?

  • We learned A LOT in a year. There are numerous things we can make better on this prototype, or improve upon with the “next generation” model. We’d like to build a bigger, better, more efficient tiltrotor with all the lessons learned. This is where we need some feedback from the community. Please read the detailed design summary (attached).

 

Of course we are not going to brag about designing a tiltrotor and NOT post a video.

Tiltrotor_1_Design_Summary.pdf

This barley summarizes a year of work in 10 minutes.

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