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Old Dec 05, 2005, 05:43 AM
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keeprighton's Avatar
Noord Holland, The Netherlands
Joined Dec 2005
63 Posts
Zagi Airframe for AP and UAV

Hi,

I have posted this in UAV but the questions are more towards AP than UAV, so I would appreciate any help or ideas from you AP chaps.
------------------------------------------

I am looking to dabble with UAV flight and I'm looking at using the Zagi airframe as it is robust and forgiving. I would like to experiment with using miniature CCD video cameras and similar payloads.

1) I have narrowed my choice to either the Zagi Tazz or Zagi XT Twin Motor kits. Does anyone recommend one above the other for my needs (ie. maximum flight time, low speed cruise, payload - autopilot gear/mini-cameras)? Would having the two motors kit eat up the battery with little or no benefit?

2) Where is it best to mount mini-cameras on this airframe? I would like one forward and centreline if possible, and maybe one pointing vertically down. Any recommendations on the cameras to use?

I have a lot more questions but answers to the above would help me purchase, and get familar with flying the model 'by hand'.

Thanks ,

Mark
Central England
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Old Dec 05, 2005, 08:43 AM
RIP Ric
Andy W's Avatar
Marietta, GA
Joined Jun 1999
43,312 Posts
The Zagi certainly posesses the qualities you list, but it's lacking the stability that makes for an ideal AP platform.
..a
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Old Dec 05, 2005, 09:35 AM
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dreslism's Avatar
United States, CA, Huntington Beach
Joined Oct 2003
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Mark,

Look at this thread here. You will find several wing type platforms.

http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showt...5&page=2&pp=15

Also search this forum for zagnutz. That is the plane the above wings are based on.

YOu can build one yourself for like $3 with free plans. Of course you will need to add your own motor and all, but the airframe is VERY tuff.

I just have a hard time finding a good place to put the camera since these things are belly landers.

--Scott
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Old Dec 05, 2005, 11:23 AM
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Joined Sep 2002
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Quote:
Originally Posted by keeprighton
Hi,

I am looking to dabble with UAV flight and I'm looking at using the Zagi airframe as it is robust and forgiving. I would like to experiment with using miniature CCD video cameras and similar payloads.

1) I have narrowed my choice to either the Zagi Tazz or Zagi XT Twin Motor kits. Does anyone recommend one above the other for my needs (ie. maximum flight time, low speed cruise, payload - autopilot gear/mini-cameras)? Would having the two motors kit eat up the battery with little or no benefit?

2) Where is it best to mount mini-cameras on this airframe? I would like one forward and centreline if possible, and maybe one pointing vertically down. Any recommendations on the cameras to use?
First let me state that I do not wish to turn this thread into a platform war, below are my personal opinions based on a limited AP experience, but after following the AP Forum for a number of months.

I think the key to AP is a very stable "hands off glide” type of airframe. While focusing on the photo taking portion of the flight, one wants an airframe that requires little attention by the pilot. I believe that is why the majority of fixed-wing pilots are choosing high-wing, trainer type aircraft (or gliders) for their airframe. I also prefer a plane with landing gear to help cushion the camera when landing.

There are a large number of planes both balsa built-up and foam (also "combinations of mixed plane parts") being used for AP. Foam is less prone to "hangar/transporting" damage requiring immediate repair, but having flown balsa built-up gliders for a number of years... balsa is quite sturdy once the pilot is beyond the crash-fly-repair-fly-crash stage.

If you read the Forum you will see a large number of airframes being used and photos of them.

I personally don't think of "Zagi type airframes" as meeting the requirements for AP except for EPP durability, which can be applied to other aircraft types.

As always, pilot experiences and preferences will enter into the choice of a plane for AP. I think I would go with something being used by the majority of the pilots as far as plane type.

SG
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Old Dec 05, 2005, 11:57 AM
Pull out early!
DiveBombDave's Avatar
Lexington, KY
Joined Jan 2005
1,956 Posts
If I can't set the transmitter down for a minute to light a smoke....

then it's not an AP plane for me. Like SG, not trying to start a debate, but just offering my experience. Fast, aerobatic flyers are nice to see the video from, but true AP (trying to get the clearest still shot, and the most of them) needs more hands-off.

Dave
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Old Dec 05, 2005, 12:29 PM
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kd7ost's Avatar
Nampa. Idaho
Joined Nov 2004
4,266 Posts
You can get a different take on it from these guys. Once they get to this thread I'm sure they will ring in with "The rest of the story".

Make sure to ask yourself how you want to take pictures? Verticals? Obliques? How does your camera mount and what does it see? Looking ahead or to the side or even to the rear?

Dan

http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showt...ht=centexflyer
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Old Dec 05, 2005, 05:55 PM
JettPilot's Avatar
Miami
Joined Apr 2005
11,049 Posts
A Zagi type wing would be great for AP. Some of us like high performance, very durable planes as opposed to slowsticks. It takes more skill to use a Zagi type wing, but it is very doable
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Old Dec 05, 2005, 07:18 PM
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lvspark's Avatar
Walla Walla
Joined May 2002
2,639 Posts
Add a FMA co-pilot to a zagi type wing and it's hands off flying no problem..

For small, tight or urban areas I would stick with a light park flyer type...
For wind or larger areas a flying wing is fine...
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Old Dec 05, 2005, 07:31 PM
I'm big in Japan
Ducman69's Avatar
Houston, TX
Joined Feb 2004
439 Posts
Quote:
Originally Posted by lvspark
Add a FMA co-pilot to a zagi type wing and it's hands off flying no problem..

For small, tight or urban areas I would stick with a light park flyer type...
For wind or larger areas a flying wing is fine...
You beat me to it. Here is a review if you or any lurkers are not familiar with the latest FS8 copilot: http://www.rcgroups.com/links/index.php?id=4527

In addition to providing hands-off stability, its a failsafe and supposedly prevents being shot down from another transmitter. The sensitivity can be adjusted to the level of stability correction you prefer.

Combined with hand launch and hand-catch, seems like a wing would be great. I don't have experience with wings, but I imagine they can fly slowly as long as the wing loading is kept light (have a vid on my desktop of one flying indoors at an ice skating rink). Not sure which powerplant would be best, but I imagine a single outrunner brushless setup with a larger prop for more static thrust would do the job. There is a guy here who used a giant Zagnuts with a pod style mount for a camera on the front IIRC. I'll see if I can find it.

EDIT:
BTW, I'm not finished yet and can't tell you if its the greatest or sucks, but I'm putting together a Multiplex EasyGlider electric along with an FS8 copilot. With an appropriate LiPo or proper weather conditions it should have good duration, its fully made of durable ELAPOR foam (similar to EPP), and with the servos mounted in the tail has a fully foam encased cockpit for expensive electronics. As a glider, it shouldn't have any issues with snapping pics in an unpowered glide (vibration free). The individual servos in each wing (which luckily do break into two pieces since they are kinda big) allow for spoilerons which should hopefully aid in shorter landings. Haven't opened the box yet (saw it on my way to work now), but I believe I finally got in my Pentax Optio S6. This camera can do 6megapixel pictures but also the video footage you are looking for (with anti-shake built in) at 640x480/30fps/stereo sound in Divx format (means longer vids and/or makes it easier to share) and its very light and thin and about the size of a credit card and the IR capability means it can be controled with MX's PRISM system (can check em out here in the forum). There are tons of great options, just throwing out some ideas.
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Last edited by Ducman69; Dec 05, 2005 at 08:20 PM.
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Old Dec 05, 2005, 08:07 PM
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birdman11787's Avatar
Smithtown, NY
Joined Jul 2003
848 Posts
I personally think that a polyhedral wing (gentle lady, spirit, olympic II) makes the best platform (most of the time). Its all I fly now. Stability, slow flite, ability to penetrate with a little down to name a few ++++. I see no down side.
Flying wings are fine and have thier plusses too..........with the exception of one thing. I would probably try one out if it wasn't for this........ I lose orientation from time to time at distance. I think it would be easier to lose orientation with a wing.......and considering how fast things happen with a wing........
anyway........ no big debate just reasons why people here chose different routes to accomplish the same goal.
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Old Dec 06, 2005, 06:43 PM
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keeprighton's Avatar
Noord Holland, The Netherlands
Joined Dec 2005
63 Posts
Thanks for all your thoughts, chaps.

The Zagi appeals to this newbie as it looks like it can take the knocks.
I think my main interest would be streaming video footage to a laptop, and then moving on to use an autopilot. Then moving into the UAV direction maybe.
As it's purely for fun and experimentation video quality can be sacrificed.

I'm really stunned by the quality of stills you guys can get - it's like you took a tripod and SLR up to 300 feet!!

I'll follow up on all your advice - it's much appreciated!
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