Toronto Electric Model Aviation Club Forum

Toronto Electric Model Aviation Club (TEMAC) => General Discussion => Topic started by: altonyeung on October 07, 2019, 11:52:18 pm

Title: Ryerson boys fly their latest toy
Post by: altonyeung on October 07, 2019, 11:52:18 pm
Allow me to share some exciting news: we have been working on a long endurance solar-powered airplane for the past 2 years and we have finally conducted a test flight with our first prototype this week! During the flight that lasted 2 hours and 5 minutes, most of which were autonomous, all systems of the aircraft were checked out successfully. The aircraft has a wingspan of 6.3 meters and weighs about 12 kg.

Ultimately the aircraft will be equipped with solar cells that, during the day, power the aircraft and charge batteries, which supply power during night time. This setup will enable the aircraft to stay airborne nonstop for nearly three months. Possible applications of the aircraft are, for example, long-term environmental observations as they are needed to better understand climate change related effects.

We are very pleased with the median flight even though it was flying in windy condition (20 knots gusting 25 knots) and we want to share our moment with TEMAC. Without the support and flying experience we gained from TEMAC, the first flight would never have gone so smoothly so we thank you all! Feel free to ask us any questions!

CityNews covers our project on the news and you can find the video via the link below.
https://toronto.citynews.ca/video/2019/10/07/ryerson-students-try-to-set-solar-aviation-record/

We have been posting some behind the scene photos and updates on our instagram page as well.
https://www.instagram.com/createv.solarplane/
Title: Re: Ryerson boys fly their latest toy
Post by: davidk on October 08, 2019, 02:01:15 am
Very cool... thanks for posting... and congratulations.

I've been thinking about adding solar panels to an Apprentice S 15e which would power it's battery and extend flight from it's approx. 10 minutes to 30.  It's not that I'd want to fly it for 30 minutes and I've no interest in autonomous flight but I'd like to fly for as long as I want to and not simply for the life of a single charge.  Not having to worry about battery health or a dead battery is, I feel, one of the next steps for RC.
Title: Re: Ryerson boys fly their latest toy
Post by: sihinch on October 08, 2019, 10:20:24 am
Great to see so many familiar, smiling faces!!! And what an awesome achievement. Way to go Team!!!  :D

Will you be flying with us again this winter?
Title: Re: Ryerson boys fly their latest toy
Post by: bweaver on October 08, 2019, 05:34:47 pm
Wonderful guys.  Where's the duct tape?  Congratulations, keep going and keep in touch.

Bruce
Title: Re: Ryerson boys fly their latest toy
Post by: Frank v B on October 08, 2019, 06:29:07 pm
Alton,

Thanks for posting the update.  Please keep the posts coming as the project develops.
As a person who has been involved in Ryerson Projects since the start about 6-7 years ago I get great satisfaction in seeing you test limits on model airplanes beyond what we would ever consider at TEMAC.  Heck, the wingspan of your project is longer than some of our test flights. 8)

It is also very noticeable from the film that you finally got to fly it in winds that were less than the flying we did at Rogo field with your autonomous project. ;)

Keep testing limits and never use the word "impossible".

For us electric Geeks, please let us know the motor size, output and battery capacity you used in the test flight.

Frank

ps: I just had time to see the TV video.  For the new members to TEMAC, both Bill Bissonnette (pilot of the test plane) and Travis Kress, who were interviewed on the TV clip, learned to fly at TEMAC.  Alton was also a frequent visitor when he did his autonomous project.  See the post with the on-board video taken Dec 10, 2016 in the snow!!! http://temac.ca/smf/index.php/topic,6025.0.html  We sure flew in some awful conditions.
Title: Re: Ryerson boys fly their latest toy
Post by: SeeFernando on October 08, 2019, 09:48:41 pm
Nice job guys!

Is that ArduPilot?
Title: Re: Ryerson boys fly their latest toy
Post by: BJROB on October 09, 2019, 01:38:28 pm
Wow this is great way to go guys
Hay @Frank v B weren't these the guys we froze with just a few years ago
Then after a bit got there wings.....
wow this is so great. And the interview so interesting to watch
Title: Re: Ryerson boys fly their latest toy
Post by: Bill B on October 09, 2019, 04:41:03 pm
Hi everyone! Thanks for the support!

@bweaver See all the shiny spots on the bottom of the wing?  :P

@Frank v B It flew with an 800W 280kv motor spinning a 20" folding prop. Powered by a 45000mAh battery pack running in 6S. 

@SeeFernando yup :)

Title: Re: Ryerson boys fly their latest toy
Post by: davidk on October 09, 2019, 05:59:53 pm
45000mAh 6S... am I reading that right?
Title: Re: Ryerson boys fly their latest toy
Post by: altonyeung on October 10, 2019, 01:48:28 pm
Thanks for everyone's kind words. We will keep you guys up to date with our progress.

@davidk Yes 45000mAh is the rated capacity we have onboard  ;D
The idea is to have enough charge to sustain flying during the night until sunrise.

There are many configurations which one can fit solar panel to their RC plane. We are going to spend the winter sorting out all the details for our project. In general, PV panels are very picky on what voltage/current they operate at, i.e. you will get a huge efficiency drop if not operating at the MPT (maximum power point).
https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/e/ec/I-V_Curve_MPP.png

Needless to say LiPo / Li-Ion batteries are also notoriously picky about the voltage/current you charge them at if you'd like to have them being recharged by the panels during flight. In a home power generation setup people will use a MPPT to regulate the voltage and current but this will add cost and weight if included on the solar RC aircraft. It is a trade off between getting higher efficiency but having to carry more weight. This is why at the moment we tend to see RC solar planes with larger size in order to carry extra electronics onboard as well as maximizing the area for solar panels.

Title: Re: Ryerson boys fly their latest toy
Post by: Frank v B on October 10, 2019, 06:04:36 pm
David,

re:  your "45000mAh 6S... am I reading that right?"

They want to stay up for 2-3 months and are using solar power to re-charge during the flight.
The battery is in the shape of a big model airplane with solar cells attached. ;D ;D
Oh, yes, with a motor to keep it flying.... with "just enough" power. ;)

Frank
Title: Re: Ryerson boys fly their latest toy
Post by: Palkina on October 10, 2019, 08:14:11 pm
Congrats!!!. Thank you for sharing your project and details. Very, very interesting.

Quote
...
There are many configurations which one can fit solar panel to their RC plane. We are going to spend the winter sorting out all the details for our project. In general, PV panels are very picky on what voltage/current they operate at, i.e. you will get a huge efficiency drop if not operating at the MPT (maximum power point).
https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/e/ec/I-V_Curve_MPP.png
...

Alton,

Are there limitations imposed by the cold night?. Are hybrid super-capacitors an option in your project?
Title: Re: Ryerson boys fly their latest toy
Post by: Bill B on October 24, 2019, 04:58:23 pm
Tomorrow we will try to fly again, this time pushing those 45000mAh as far as we can! We will keep everyone updated :)
Title: Re: Ryerson boys fly their latest toy
Post by: bweaver on October 24, 2019, 06:40:23 pm
@Bill B and gang.   We are all looking forward to hearing of a successful outcome Bill.   :) :) :) :)
Title: Re: Ryerson boys fly their latest toy
Post by: Bill B on October 27, 2019, 10:46:43 pm
Although we had to deal with some very last minute hardware issues (wouldn't be a test flight without shearing a bolt), our flight on Friday was a success! We stayed up for 5 hours. The first hour or so was used to tune the autopilot a bit more after the first flight, since we had better weather for this flight. Tuning the autopilot included a few specific tests, including finding out how the aircraft responded to quick control inputs, how much power was used at various airspeeds, and learning the stall behavior of the vehicle. After finishing the tuning, we put the plane in a auto-mission to follow GPS waypoints around field. Then we left it there for 4 more hours ;D

We are sorting through some videos and pictures now and I will post those as soon as I can.

Thanks again for all the enthusiasm and support from TEMAC! :)
Bill

Title: Re: Ryerson boys fly their latest toy
Post by: Bill B on October 27, 2019, 10:50:18 pm
Figured out how to get some pictures!
Title: Re: Ryerson boys fly their latest toy
Post by: bweaver on October 27, 2019, 11:26:46 pm
GREAT!  :) :) Way to go...
Title: Re: Ryerson boys fly their latest toy
Post by: sihinch on October 28, 2019, 09:23:31 am
Wow! 5hrs of flight!?  That's crazy.

Amazing success Team!  Thanks so much for sharing.  :D