Easystar Long Endurance/Long Range Upgrade
I finally upgraded my trusty Easystar.
I plan to fly my Easystar around the fjords. The intent of the mod is to have an endurance of around 2 hours, while keeping all the nice flying qualities. To prove the system, I flew an "over water" recce of a light house 2.5 km off the coast.
I modified Easyglider wings from BP Hobbies to fit in the EasyStar. I decided to do that rather than just buy an Easyglider because of:
- The location of the prop (not in the way of the camera).
- I wanted it to fit in the carry box. I cannot understate how important it is to the entire "system". With it, I'm able to take the plane anywhere by plane, trane, automobile, bike, foot...It's been all over Asia, North America and Europe.
The big wings give the Easystar a theoretical max weight on take off of about 40 ozs. She currently weighs in at 34 ozs. With the big wings, she flies much more slowly, climbs more agressively, and is more stable. They are interchangable w/ the stock wings which I still use occasionally.
I use ailerons.
I enlarged the rudder to handle the bigger wings.
It has stability augmentation in pitch and roll via 2 EKK 704 rate gyros. They give the plane a "smoother ride", even in high gusty winds.
I flew for a while w/ 3 channels, which was good enough with wind less than 8 knots. I activated the ailerons and now am able to comfortably fly it in winds up to 15 knots. This openned up quite a few more fly days.
I replaced the stock Speed 400 motor, 8 Amp ESC and 5 X 4 prop with a Brushless ARC 28-37-3 Motor, Amp Suppo ESC from LightFlightRC and 6 X 5 cut from a 7 X 5 prop.
I fly with a 2300 mAH 8C 2S LiPo from Microwireless. I've gotten over 1 hour of flight time with that. Often, I fly with a second battery, carried externally, theoretically giving up to 2 hour endurance. I've only flown in this configuration for 1 hour and 40 minutes. It can carry up to 2 more packs, but who wants to fly for more than 3 hours anyway?
I installed a wet compass. It should help w/ orientations over water.
I use a 200mW 2.4 GHz Video Tx.
I have a 8 dBi Patch Antenna for Base Station (2 km w/ 200mW VTx, expected range of video link- 3km)
Here's a wag at what I'm getting based on some rough math or recent flying experience:
- 100 percent thrust upgrade.
- 200 percent increase in rate of climb.
- 100 percent increase in Max Gross Weight (25 to 40+ ozs).
- Current Weight 34 ozs. (40 ozs. with two external flight packs)
- 20 percent reduction in wing loading.
- 10 percent reduction in take-off speed.
- 15 percent reduciton of approach speed.
- 20 percent better motor efficiency.
- Proven 1.5 hour endurance. (Theoretical 3 hours w/ 2 X External Aux-packs)
Here are the pending Upgrades (Funded):
- Crew-operated Mission Camera Pod. I have a second complete video set that I will install in a removable pod, independently controlled by another radio. This way, I can fly, and someone else can look.
- 2nd, 3rd & 4th External Hard Points, for spare batteries, cameras, etc...
Pending Upgrades awaiting Finance Minister Funding (Approximately $1100
- Tracking 14 dBi Patch Antenna for Base Station (Expected range of video link- 10km)
- Waiting on AeroLINK or DMD+DragonOSD. I'd like an integrated On-screen Display, GPS, Autopilot, Auto-Nav System, Full-duplex Control/Telemetry Link & Moving Map Display. (Expected control/telemetry range > 10+km).
- Recce/Mapping Camera
- Night Vision Flight Cam
Any questions, please PM me & I'll get back to you.
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Hey man, I was going to suggest you use something like the FMA Stand-Alone Flight Stabilization System with your receiver but it isn't available right now...out-of-stock ATM.
I use it to take over flight duties for a few moments so I can concentrate on other things.
I originally intended for my system to be a two person (safer) setup but have since switched to single person since all my friends and associates interest dies immediately if they have to "learn something" or heaven forbid actually show-up when they say they will. Sad but true.
I do like your work.
Have a great day,
PS, My A-4 is almost done......
United States, GA, Woodstock
Joined Mar 2007
So true, I have the same problem!! Anyhow, your blog is fantastic, and inspiring! Makes me want to go out and buy an easystar this weekend! Thanks!
Joined Jan 2008
hi, man im impressed, thats cool. did the easy gliders wings fit right in, or did you have to some cutting? if so did you have to cut on wings, or fuse or both? thanks, rc
p.s. i wonder if a arc 4 turn be plenty of power with even longer flight times, anyone know?
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