Trying to make an UAV glider for Airsoft

Hello everyone!

Since I play Airsoft, I want to make an UAV glider with 3G/4G/LTE connectivity so I can stream video from the Pi Camera to my laptop.

I want to launch the plane from the base and provide reconnaissance to my team during the game. It needs to stay in the air for about half an hour or 45 minutes.

I am a beginner to Navio and a total noob about RC planes and anything related to it. It would be nice if someone could tell me what parts do I need to buy in order to build the plane.

Regarding the video stream, I would like an OSD which shows the battery status and such. I will view it on my laptop that’ll be connected to the internet.

Essentially, I’d set up the auto-pilot to circle around an area and I’d view the camera feed from my laptop.

Is it possible to make this? Here are the parts I came up with:

  • Raspberry Pi 3
  • Raspberry Pi camera
  • Camera shielding
  • Emlid Navio2
  • Power module
  • Wire pack
  • GPS/GNSS antenna

I have no idea what frame (and other related components) should I use so I’m asking you to help me.

Thanks a lot everyone :slight_smile:

Very cool idea. Are you sure that this it not considered cheating? :wink:

  1. You would need an airframe you can handlaunch.
  2. Something compact and small. Foldable perhaps.
  3. It should also be able to land in a small area,
    deep stall landing or parachute are two options
  4. That leads to a flying wing design.
  5. To fly 30min or longer, you either need to build really light or carry more batteries. I would go for the first option, considering the landing method.

I have a Swift 2 EPP Wing with FPV and if I really only cruise around, it flies for over 20min on a 1300mAh 3s Lipo, but it only carries a FPV Camera and Video TX, no autopilot. It has an AUW (All Up Weight) of 380g, with a wingspan of 810mm. It is not very aerodynamic, because all components are sticking out at the top, but that does not matter as much at slow flying speeds.

First flying wing I thought of reading your post was this:

I do not know if the Navio2 would fit in there. The digital cameras they mention in the discription, have similar dimensions as the Navio2+RPi and you do not need much space for the PiCam.
It is a bit expensive, though.

You could also go with a Hobbyking Teksumo:

and stick all components on top, but you would need some protection for the Navio.

Here are some other examples for FPV/UAV flying wings:

This is made of EPO instead of EPP, so it might be less crash resistant. I would also ditch the clear dome and mount the PiCam in the EPO Nose:

Very popular FPV flying wing. The camera hole is already angled down:

If you need further input, please let me know.

Pretty good Idea, but 4g is a thing with drone operation. For my part in Germany I had to go over to 433mhz telemetry. But anyways:

Are you sure it needs to be a fixed wing?`
probably a quad would be at least equal fun, but this is up to you.

If you really wnat a fixed wing, this simple beauty is very easy to fly and setup. You will also need a remote, to operate the Navio for landing and takeoff.

this is the most used remote right now I think, and it does a great job on a budget. If you want to step it up a notch, you could use the X6E.
For the rest, you will need a lipo as a battery, and a charger.

If you have any questions Flightest is a great youtube chanel to learn a lot. You can also always send me a message, I will at least try to answer it :wink:

Thank you for your informative replies! :slight_smile:
I’ve figured out that building a plane-type UAV is way more complicated than making a quad.

So I’ll be switching to a quadcopter for this project. Regarding Navio2 – do I really have to use it? Is there a cheaper solution (it might be awkward to ask this on Navio forums but I really can’t find any other good forum for this)?

Implying I drop the autopilot feature.

I was thinking about buying a premade drone with a ‘normal’ controller and just putting a Pi + Camera on it with a separate LiPo for streaming. I’d have a read-only SD card that would set everything up automatically. Since it would be a read-only file system, I will be able to ‘kill’ the Pi based on battery voltage without corrupting it.

What do you think about this? Aftermarket drone + Pi3/camera/4G or a cheaper controller that works with Pi?

For something as simple as this, a pixhawk mini would do. Or even a “clone”. Then, just use a raspi 3/zero for video and telemetry. It’d certainly be a lot easier. You’d still have autopilot, OSD, telemetry, and video.

Of course there is!
Glad you asked that question. On hobby king, there are plenty of options for flight controllers. I think a hkmega would do a perfect job. As it is very similar to the navio in terms of software upgrading layer won’t be a problem. And they also have a very nice head kit based on the s550 frame, that basically has everything including motors an propellers.
Although you will need:
-Flight controller (navio/hkmega)
-remote (frsky taranis)
-fpv stuff
Hope this helps you

30 minutes in a quadcopter, you’ll have to build very efficiently… Have you considered just buying a ready to go drone - It’s a huge undertaking building a drone. Yes a quadcopter in my experience is easier, you don’t need any piloting skill to set it up and doesn’t require a large landing area!

Won’t somebody shoot it down anyway?