The Skyhunter was successfully taken for its maiden flight today.
We have reviewed many different options for airframes and believe the Skyhunter will suit our needs.
The Skyhunter will replace the X-8 as our competition airframe due to its large payload size, longer endurance, improved flight characteristics, and safer launching methods.
- Both the X8 and the Skyhunter are rated to a maximum weight of 3.5kg. The Skyhunter airframe is lighter than the X8 which means more batteries can be included.
- The X-8 is a delta-wing configuration, and was prone to wing stall in flight leading to death spirals and crashing. The team is more comfortable with the conventional plane layout which does not experience these issues.
- The propeller on the X-8 sat below the underbelly of the fuselage. This means a folding propeller was required which added complications, and caused additional safety concerns when hand-launching the plane. The Skyhunter has clearance between the underbelly of the fuselage and the propeller so it does not experience these issues.
The Skyhunter is cheap and made of light-weight foam which makes it easy to repair minor damage.
Unfortunately upon entering auto mode the plane increased speed and nose dived into the ground, obliterating the airframe. Nonetheless we are happy with what we have achieved, the plane will not be expensive to replace, and we are confident the issue was just a poorly trimmed elevator.
Note: We have investigated the issue further and found the cause and solution. More details can be found here.