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Multicopter with Aerostat

#1
Has anyone tried to extend the flight time of multicopters by supplementing lift with an aerostat.
An aerostat is a helium or hydrogen filled blimp. It would be important that the shape is streamlined like a blimp for better wind penetration.
It wouldn't be fast or aerobatic but it might extend flight times dramatically.
 

Ak Flyer

Fly the wings off
Mentor
#3
I could see it for heavy payloads. Sort of like a divers ballast. Not a huge amount of lift, just to offset the weight and still keep the control.

Makes me think an emergency helium airbag is going to shop up on a quadcopter. I'm surprised a parachute hasn't yet since they've already been showcased here on planes.
 
#4
Exactly Ak Flyer

I could see it for heavy payloads. Sort of like a divers ballast. Not a huge amount of lift, just to offset the weight and still keep the control.

Makes me think an emergency helium airbag is going to shop up on a quadcopter. I'm surprised a parachute hasn't yet since they've already been showcased here on planes.
Thank you for refining my intent. That's exactly what I was talking about.
I would think you could not only lift more for longer but in situations where you loose power, you have an auto recovery system. ...minimal damage to copter and expensive camera gear. A parachute adds weight with no benefit during intended use. I'd guess the cost would be quite reasonable too.

I think you'd have to use a ridged coupling to the aerostat to avoid linkage slack and entanglement in the props. A rigid coupling would also improve directional control.
 

Ak Flyer

Fly the wings off
Mentor
#5
I was thinking of a very rigid piece, probably right above the control board, or even directly in the middle of the frame.
 

zenith

Junior Member
#6
I would love to see this done!

I think one issue is volume....Party-grade helium has very little extra lifting power. I think you'd need a lot of large balloons to lift a 1kg quad!
However, making Hydrogen at home is very easy (saltwater + DC current in a bottle with the balloon over), and if done outdoors relatively safe for a smallish balloon.... and you get more lift than helium...
I guess the other problem is the quadcopter aerodynamics are not compatible with dirigible aerodynamics, might be very unstable, but I could be wrong...

All in all it sounds like a fantastic thing to try and show, success or failure!
 
#7
I think that to get enough lifting benefit to be useful, your envelope will be large enough that you might as well have an aerostat anyway. On the other hand, with modern motors and equipment, I bet you could have a _very_ stable and maneuverable camera platform with a very long loiter time. Smaller props and motors mean less vibration, less power consumption, and smaller batteries.
 
#9
I would love to see this done!

I think one issue is volume....Party-grade helium has very little extra lifting power. I think you'd need a lot of large balloons to lift a 1kg quad!
However, making Hydrogen at home is very easy (saltwater + DC current in a bottle with the balloon over), and if done outdoors relatively safe for a smallish balloon.... and you get more lift than helium...
I guess the other problem is the quadcopter aerodynamics are not compatible with dirigible aerodynamics, might be very unstable, but I could be wrong...

All in all it sounds like a fantastic thing to try and show, success or failure!
I have to agree with you! The weight can be unproportional. It needs more force to be lifted in the air.