A flight data recorder for radio-controlled model aircraft

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Du Plooy, Andre Fred
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In the ever growing sport of model aircraft, pilots are challenged with many obstacles. In the division of gliders, one of the biggest problems is the loss of model aircraft. Pilots launch their aircraft off mountain tops and if the aircraft crashes below, the pilot must make use of his best estimates in order to locate the aircraft. This either takes several hours, or the aircraft is never recovered. Pilots are also at a loss with regard to real time data, such as, but not limited to, battery levels, fuel levels, altitude and speed. Model aircraft competitions are also limited to the best estimate of officials. In this work an attempt has been made to design and develop a remote tracking device for model aircraft. This device will retrieve Global Positioning System (GPS) co-ordinates from the aircraft and relay them to the pilot on the ground. In the event of a crash, the pilot will retrieve the last GPS co-ordinates and then proceed to the location to collect the aircraft. An attempt will also be made to design add-on telemetry components that will allow for measurement and transmission of battery levels, fuel levels, altitude, G-Force, orientation, acceleration, wind and ground speed. Some of the data retrieved from the Flight Data Recorder (FDR) in trial 1 are: maximum altitude above sea level of 2139.20 m, maximum speed over ground which was 57.34 m/s and the average battery voltage for transceiver and servos was 15.2 v.
M. Tech. (Engineering: Electrical; Department of Electronic Engineering, Faculty of Engineering and Technology )-- Vaal University of Technology
Model aircraft, Global positioning system, Flight data recorder