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VTOL UAV is Becoming Dominant - Dev Series # 1

Buildling a VTOL from scratch - dev. series

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Elliot Lee - Oct.20, 2022

What is VTOL?

Vertical Take Off and Landing [VTOL] is becoming a dominant Unmanned Aerial Vehicle [UAV] type. At first look, the VTOL looks like just an airplane. Indeed, it is an airplane with a wing. However, the fixed-wing airplane needs a runway. Although a pilot can throw small UAVs, they need a dedicated runway to carry payloads. The runway is the very problem - building or using a runway is expensive!

Boeing 777

Boeing 777 (Wiki - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boeing_777)

As we are interested in UAVs, we wish anything that can fly could take off vertically, just like multirotors and helicopters. If so, we can save the time, effort, and money of flying fixed-wing aircraft.

DJI Phantom DJI Phantom (Wiki - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Multirotor)

There are many types of VTOLs

Jet Type

Yakovlev Yak-38 Yakovlev Yak-38, 1971 (Wiki — https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yakovlev_Yak-38)

Tilt-Rotor Type

XV-3 XV-3, 1955 (Wiki — https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bell_XV-3#/media/File:Xv3-1.JPG)

Tailsitter Type

X-13 X-13, 1955 (Wiki — https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ryan_X-13_Vertijet#/media/File:Ryan_X-13.jpg)

Among the above, a tiltrotor and tailsitter could be more suitable. As a tailsitter can be easily built compared to the tiltrotor, for some reason, I wish to build a tail sitter first.

Why do we plan to develop one from scratch?

To begin with, I purchased a low-cost Chinese-made model made of foam. However, the elevon (elevator + aileron) is too small. This won’t give us good control authority. So, I decided to build one from scratch!

Model Tailsitter

First Attempt

Using some aluminum structures and cardboard, I build a prototype. As it is a prototype, I’m not planning to fly this model at the moment. Let’s see how this is going to turn out.

Custom built tailsitter by AIR&H Aerospace Inc.