long range rc spy plane?

i have a long-time dream of having a rc plane with a camera mounted on it and long-range(~30miles)control and feedback, any ideas on where to start?

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ZacharyT12 years ago

you all keep talking short wave (walkie talkies, ham radio) what he wants is for the guidance data to piggyback the cell tower network. A lot like how old dial up data piggybacked the landline network. Oh btw flat top roofs make great charging stations like a bigger version of the flat cell phone charging pads that energizer has. Think unlimited flight across the world by drone. This could be a new network just by itself lol

Section 14 years ago

This might help. I am about to set it up for a community police project I trust it will do the job.
cgsolutions4 years ago
Have you ever considered trying to use an android phone in the plane? This would give a camera, a gps unit, tilts and gravity sensors, programmable abilities, live video feedback, all with the high speed internet off of the phones cell service or dialing into the phone as a modem. You would have to write the AP software for the phone and that allowed it to do all of this. Then you could use a plane with a large enough fuel capacity for the long range flight. ..
love2invent5 years ago
I consider this link like the Holy Grail of FPV flying (both short and long range). It gives you detailed pros/cons between receiver frequencies.


I currently have a Sky Surver V4 (with a motor 2628 kv1800 upgrade, 8x5 prop, stock 2.4 GHz electronics) with a #8 keychain HD camera. 3000 ft range is pretty far without the FPV setup. I am looking into the Sky Walker platform (foam version, more forgiving than the fiberglass version and it's cheaper).

Tyramead8 years ago

First you have to see where the plane is so you will need an onboard video transmitter with some sort of telemetry that can give you feedback on how the plane is doing ( as well as the video signal of course). You can get that from here http://www.rangevideo.com/ .

Then you must extend the distance that you can control the plane. Definitely you will be breaking some laws here (rangevideo won't help you on this). But since you are a spy, then it's obvious that the laws are beyond you. To do this, you can either modify your Tx antenna by making it directional such that all the RF power output are thrown towards a certain general direction where the plane is during flight. There are a lot of directional transmitter antenna designs out there. Radio laws usually prohibit unlicensed or unregistered RF transmission beyond 1000 miliwatts or transmissions that can go beyond 100 meters (I'm not sure if that's either or). It depends on your local laws of course that is if you want to be a law abiding spy:-).

Disregarding the law, you can use brute boosting your radio transmission. For this you will need an RF booster. much like those RF boosters those CB radios are using as someone suggested. You just have to tweak it a little bit to match the frequencies of you TX controller but you have to understand that those kind of RF amplifiers (CB radios) aren't designed for continuous transmission. You will have to device ways and means so that your final stage transistors from burning either by lowering the power ouptut or by making a better heat sink.

How much RF power will you need? That will depend on the type of RF transmission you have. To tickle you fancy 1 watt of propagated RF microwave signal can reach more than 20 miles. The fact is that the higher the frequency, the longer the distance and the more direct the transmission is meaning, the plane should be within line of sight of the TX antenna. You will really have to build a high antenna after all, you don't expect to be standing outside the field control the plane that you can't see anyway.

To have almost unlimited distance use your cellphone as the data carrier to control your plane.

Hi !

Thank yo for you detailed descriptions.
I am very interesting in one particular subject:
"To have almost unlimited distance use your cellphone as the data carrier to control your plane. "
I want to use an transformed RC into an UAV plane for rescued people in mountain (winter, avalanches... etc.) so... I must have a very good small camera (I found an impressive video camera for UAV with 36X zoom, that is more than enough for me) and fly over the mountain in a certain difficult weather conditions.
I don't know were are the people and I have to stay up in the air for a while...
How can I use GSM or GPRS from GSM tower to transmit and control the plane and the camera? - zoom etc
Thank you very much
Love the dream, and would like you to create something very hot for me. You seem intelligent, heres my email below, show me what you can do



email: richy-rich24@hotmail.com

Nightmare015 years ago
You can buy an Air Hogs Hawk Eye Blue Sky RC plane at Wal-mart for $60. I have one, it's pretty fun, can't fly in any wind though. It has an on-board video camera that you can take pictures and video which you can plug into your computer and edit and share them.
this guys few for 15 plus miles

BUt he is in Mexico no rules
So please i forgot to say FCC rules and state have to be checked mine will be ligle and a low fly ]
Don't wont to see anyone in hot water
this link is cool check it out ]
he flys at 8000ft and for 15 miles check the ststes at the end
or type in RCPLANE AT 8000ft
I have been working this idea foe a few weeks now and bought some gear to do this with when it arrives I will put it togather and sent a vidio of 1st flight
here's what I ve got
a900 x 1500 k vidio with a mini vam w ccd sony a set of fat shark googles with
controll for direction up down left right for cam
dragon link reciver 12 volt power for vid and 11 v for cam
35 mhz radio controll
plane not sure what one I will use yet but I have time
hope for 22 mile range while I set in a chair
should be wild as all get out
Dr.Bill8 years ago
Your gonna need a Ham Radio license to get the distance and then I think the output watts are limited by law
Dr.Bill Dr.Bill5 years ago
Get your Ham License and you can operate under the Coveted Black Flag
It doesn't sound like any of you have a real clue.
Mr-Zion6 years ago


i dont know how old this question is but all you need is one of those new phones, you couldve used a satalite phone a few years back with a web cam duct tape and what not..but now all you gota do is log on into that google earth live and you can see whats happening ,live i think..
No, Google Earth is not live! I look at my house on it and it has no swimming pool because we just put it in 3 years ago! Look at cars on the street, they aren't moving!
qoute ",live i think..." But you are absolutely right, i think...
Musicman417 years ago
My idea would be to somehow attach a cell phone to the plane. With this, you can utilize the cell phone towers for long range communication.
big plane, plus laptop? that would really use up a lot of time in creation though,
You don't get what I mean. Use a microprocessor which can listen to and transmit modem signals. Put a microphone by the cell phone speaker and a speaker by the cell phone mic. Then have the cell phone call your computer through your house phone and computer modem and you can get almost global communication.
Wasagi8 years ago
Hmm... I think that you and I share a dream... Well, you would need a RIDICULOUSLY long attenna, atleast 15 ft. I would think. You might be able to hack a few Walkie Talkies, and use thier radio transmitters, which could range to around 30 miles. For the plane itself, it would need to have a huge battery, or run on a fuel based engine, and have quite a large wingspan. I believe that it could be done, but it wouldn't be too easy. I hope that I helped.
don't need a big battery or fuel based engine, you can make it solar powered
may not be practical, especially in somewhere like the uk,
and me
jabbapam7 years ago
You need to check out diydrones.com for a uav setup using a multiplex easystar to start with.

For video there is heaps of different ways but one to start would be fpvpilot.com

I doubt you would get 30miles feedback and control, you would need to check out the flying rules in your country, especially the USA before attempting something like that. There are altitude rules etc for RC aircarft.
free-flight7 years ago
1st of all you cant do that (im sorry i had a dream like that too) unless you need a long attena and i think you can with walkie talkies but the reciever must be attach to a 4 or even 6 ch controller but i think walkie talkies run on telephone lines for long distants (50%) you need 3 huge foam gliders and search up rc supplies on google
sdfgsdfg7 years ago
I would also like to do this one day, but my budget isn't vary big at the moment. My idea is to have an electric powered plane equipped with a solar panel on each wing (and an inbuilt batter). You run the motor off the solar for most of the time (and charge the battery if possible) Then at night it can use the battery. On the subject of making a plane fly itself there are a few things: Guidance and Flight. Flight: keeping it in the air, use of accelerometers, gyros etc, or a pre built thing like the Co-Pilot II (quite expensive though) Guidance: GPS, can be home-made, look at sights like the one on the lego UAV project. (can't remember where)
mrmarshall17 years ago
the ardupilot a zigbee and some engenerring could help solve your problems try www.diydrones.com
Gerbilz7 years ago
 ok this is what u need:
custom RC plane design with at lest 1.75m wing span(helps wit fuel economy)
solar power isnt a good idea as the amount of cells needed, weight of the cells and the power it produces just isnt gonna happen
 walkie talkies could be good for a few miles or so but u need descent electronics to know what ur doin
for fuel idont no perhaps multible batteries or a turbine or somthin u could not power it at all and have a glider

but check out this site for more it helps a lot:


koolkid128 years ago
i made i spy plane this is what u need
MattGyver928 years ago
First of all, we both share the same dream. If I were you, I'd check the laws in the state that you live in to see what restrictions there are on antennas, model airplanes, spying, etc. If a license is required, it doesn't mean that you can't make your RC spy plane. It means you should probably fly your plane closer to your controls (probably a good idea anyway).
Next, get your plane. There are RC plane clubs (check your local area) that do nothing but build RC planes, and launch them! Or you could just buy one..
Then, you'll need a camera, a transmitter, and a reciever. Check around on the internet for these (but buyer beware-cameras, transmitters, and recievers can run up a LOT of money these days). There is a book that I know of that could help you- 101 Spy Gadgets for the Evil Genius-this has your name written all over it (I can tell). So definently look around a bit before diving into this. There is a B/W board mounted camera for $11 at supercircuits.com that might work...
If you get your plane to work, don't stop there. Make ground vehicles that launch your plane (and other RC crafts as well), make RC plane launching boats! Make Rc launching amphibious vehicles! Be creative! Add laser pointers to your RC crafts, or make them drop water balloons on unsuspecting passerbys below! And most importantly, have fun.
robotguy48 years ago

Google Earth?

No clue how to do it, though.

Try looking up the Gossamer Condor for something big.