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80.000 nose dive autopiloted Answered

Hi all, I'm planning to drop a glider from a weather balloon from about 80.000 feet. I want to let the airplane gain speed and then glide to the launching place or at least as close as possible to it.

The idea is to do a nose dive (nose heavy) until enough speed is reached and slowly turn the airplane towards the launching site. Is this achievable with ardupilot software? I'm already sending a bunch of instruments like gyro, gps and magnetometer and I could use their readings on a Raspberry pi to run ardupilot , at least until video range is available to switch to manual.

If possible I want to avoid buying the autopilot hardware

1. Any idea if this could be achievable the way I'm going about it?

2. Is this even legal? (I know it has been done already but I'm planning on doing this many times)

Thank you in advance for any answer backed up by facts. 

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Downunder35m
Downunder35m

6 years ago

I see two problems, first the legal side as you would need a permit for such altitudes in most countries.

Secondly the actual steering of the glider.

You need to get it into a stable flight position first, which from a dead dive is not the easiest.

Depending on the type and size of the aircraft you are looking at far over 200km/h that you need to recover, possibly with a spin.

After that comes the homing for which I would prefer a GPS guided system but it needs to address the great height.

It is doable for sure but you might need some input from an experienced model aircraft pilot, like checking the reactions of your craft at those high speeds and finding way of recovery from a terminal drop.

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Matienzo
Matienzo

Reply 6 years ago

The weather balloon permission is not the problem, but the guided landing might be. I haven't found anything on it. I know that rocket amateurs cant do it, but nothing about weather balloons.

As for terminal velocity, considering it will be a foam frame with a payload no larger than 0.5/0.6 kg I plugged it on terminal velocity calculators (drag included) and the highest speed I've seen is 170 km/h.

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Matienzo
Matienzo

6 years ago

I haven't found anything yet on the matter of guiding the payload to a destination. As for your question on terminal velocity, the drag and the small weight of the glider will keep it surely on a range that will not brake the plane if a delicate maneuver is made. By delicate maneuver I mean slowly changing the fuselage center line with respect to the velocity vector on the "home" direction. I think there will be plenty of drag during fall and the weight will/should not exceed 0.7 kg.