Saturday, January 29, 2011

Arcticopter Project Overview

Here are Josh's basic requirements for a flying aerial platform:
  • portable enough to take to remote locations.
  • easy enough to operate so that he can concentrate on the photography and not the flying.  As he says, this is a photography project and not a model RC project!
  • reliable enough that he can attach several thousands of dollars with of high end camera gear and expect to get it back in working order.
It seems that what will best suit his needs is a multicopter of some sort capable of carrying an SLR. We've broken the work down into a couple of phases.

  1. Get a small quadcopter flying around reliably; take some pictures and video with a gopro.  This will be the Arcticopter I.
  2. Add FPV to the Arcticopter I.
  3. Add some electronic guidance features.  Likely candidates will be altitude hold, heading hold, and RTH (return to home).
  4. Build a larger model capable of carrying a payload comparable to a large SLR, lens, and control system.  This might be a hexacopter and will be the Arcticopter II.
  5. Add FPV, electronic guidance features as above.
  6. Add an SLR camera mount and control system.
  7. Add SLR.  I imagine we'll do a lot of experimenting with a low-end SLR before we attach Josh's full-frame Canon!
Nomenclature note:  We'll bump the Arcticopter number each time it undergoes a significant revision such as changing the control board or frame.  This will make it possible to discuss each of these changes in a bit more succinct manner.

Next up: the Arcticopter I!

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