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Old Oct 11, 2012, 05:57 AM
Imagination is my only limit
Joined Sep 2012
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amazing and radical

I want to do something amazing and radical. I want to design and construct a high altitude drone using a modified X8 wing. Using a high altitude weather balloon I want to launch it into the stratosphere and just before balloon burst release it, all the while taking high res video and photos. My thought is to attack it one of two ways.

1. Launch using the weather balloon and program an auto release of the drone at a set altitude. All the while maintaining control of the drone via some long range control. My question is what product exists that can provide this long range control from my radio. I hear that Dragon Labs may be they way to go, but can even Dragon Labs reach that far? Were talking 100 - 190K feet here. Also what type of ground setup would I need? If I go this route what can I use to provide the long range video link? For this I hear that Hobby Wireless has a 1.2Ghz 1000mw video transmitter, would this suffice? I know to keep the radio control and video transmitter as far apart as possible on the drone to minimize interference.

2. Launch using the weather balloon but program the drone to be totally autonomous using gps way points to find it's way back. Hopefully however still being able to setup some sort of video transmission from it to see what it sees.

That being said I haven't done the math yet, but I would imagine the balloon would drift for some 20 - 50 miles or so as it ascends. Can the drone even travel that distance back, provided it has enough batteries?

I was thinking about launching the balloon from the west and let the drone glide back on and through the jet stream to give it good a tailwind without having to use too much of its own power as it makes its way back home. Also once released from the balloon, can the drone itself even maintain lift at that altitude, or will it fall back to earth until the air is dense enough to provide trust and lift?

Any and all comments/advice are greatly appreciated and welcomed. Thank you.
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Old Oct 11, 2012, 11:06 AM
Old retired Electronics Fart
Charles B's Avatar
United States, OH, Centerburg
Joined Mar 2007
426 Posts
some info for you

1. The balloon will be rotating all the time it is going up.
It could get as low as 5 second to do one rotation.
The drone hanging below will be flopping back and forth.

2. The video will be fading in and out because of that rotation.
The control will also be doing the same.

3. After you release the Drone You'll have a lot less control over it because
the air density.

4. Before you launch the balloon you need a way to find out how strong and what direction of the upper winds .

5 You'll need a GPS on board that will keep track of the you position & elevation

6. Don't forget to have the OK from a local Large airport for your launch.
You should schedule the launch before hand. With alternate launch date/times.
It would be bad news if a Plane hit the balloon or even came close.

9. Yes 1 watt at 1200 Mhz should do the trick if you have a gain antenna on the ground. It should be circular polarized.

10 the drift can be as far as 140 miles. or less then 15 miles.

Just something to think about.
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Last edited by Charles B; Oct 11, 2012 at 11:13 AM.
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