Heavy Lift Drone

Here’s my most recent contributions to the Heavy Lift Drone Topic, my Introductory Comments and Content on this topic are at the end of this page.

I have been working on the design of a Test Stand for the Heavy Lift Drone. I think the Drone will be large enough and expensive enough to create that it is not reasonable to have a plan where the testing and optimization of the Heavy Lift Drone will involve creating a version of the Drone, getting it powered up and in the air, trying out the new programming and watching the Drone behave incorrectly and crash and require creation of another Drone. I think this approach will simply be too expensivie. I have placed below some images of this Testing Stand concept. Beneath the images I have some further discussion on the topic. Enjoy! pg

Download 80mb png This shows the Heavy Lift Drone Testing Stand (33 downloads)
Download 77mb png This shows tilt limits imposed on the Drone by the Test Stand (4 downloads)
Download 160mb png This image is large enough that you can really zoom in a lot on it. This will allow you to more clearly see the Cardanic joints that are on the Test Stand. These Cardanic joints allow and limit the tilting of the Drone (27 downloads)

There are problems with creating a Heavy Lift Drone that are unique to this type of drone.

For what would be realistically considered as a “Heavy Lift Drone” the drone payload needs to be significant. I suggest 500lbs.

The drone will need to be able to lift, stabilize, and generally manage 500lbs contained as a payload inside the drone.

These requirements mean the drone itself must be large enough and robust enough to hold, carry, and manage this weight of payload.

The drone will need propellers that can create enough lift to get the drone’s wt, plus the payload’s wt, plus the fuel’s wt up into the air and to perform an ascent.

The drone will need a power supply and power routing arrangement to create and distribute enough power to run these propellers at these propeller’s thrust requirements.

I feel these requirements mean that a true and reasonable “Heavy Lift Drone” will be large, heavy, contain large and expensive parts, and the cost to create the drone will be large.

As part of my goal to demonstrate that a true Heavy Lift Drone is feasible and can be created right now with already existing technology, I think I should discuss the financial issues that are a part of a development program to create and introduce a feasible and true Heavy Lift Drone.

Right now, I do not see any true Heavy Lift Drones. These would be items that are completely VTOL if they want to be, have significant linger or loiter specifications, and contain an ability to transition into and out of fixed wing flying.

I think the fixed wing issue must be addressed. A true Heavy Lift Drone will be too valuable and too complex to launch it just to “Go Up and Look Around.” These functions will be supplied by much smaller, less complex, and less expensive to operate drones.

It seems clear to me the mission of the Heavy Lift Drone (particularly when it is a military application) will be for transport, (and perhaps delivery of munition fire against enemy targets). I think it is clear that the significant energy efficiency of fixed wing flying structures either for transport or loitering will force practical true Heavy Lift Drones to have an ability of the Heavy Lift Drone to transition into and out of fixed wing flying whenever the control algorithms of the Heavy Lift Drone wish to request enabling/disabling fixed wing flying.

I think success in demonstrating that a Heavy Lift Drone should be created and tested includes there should be a way that the process of optimizing the flying controls and flight characteristics of the Heavy Lift Drone simply must not include that the programmers launch Heavy Lift Drones, activate their current programming solutions, and watch these programs not function properly (because they are development programs, not the final product) and the Heavy Lift Drone becomes unstable, crashes, and is ruined or badly damaged.

I think a “Support Rescue Test Stand” can be created for the process of allowing the programmers to optimize their flight control algorithms for the Heavy Lift Drone.

The purpose of this Stand will be that the Drone can be placed on the Stand and connected to the Stand.  This connection of the Drone to the Stand will have specific set of mechanical parameters of the connection so that the Stand can allow the Drone to “Fly a Little,” but the connection of the Drone to the Stand will be robust enough that if the Drone proceeds to an unstable condition where the next event will be that the Drone will crash, that instead the connection the Drone to the Stand will be robust enough that the Drone Flying event under the control of the programmers can be simply stopped and the Stand will use its connection to the Drone to “Stop and Hold” the Drone in a manner where the Drone does not crash or become damaged.

After this emergency “Stop and Hold” event, the Stand can use its connections to the Drone to bring the Drone back to its “Full Upright and Stowed” condition and the facilities control group can inform the programmers that the Drone is now ready again for the programmers to take control of the Drone and continue their Drone flying optimization activities.

I will create and send to my YouTube channel a YouTube video where I discuss and show with 3D drawings and various views my opinion that using math and science I feel I can demonstrate that this “Support Rescue Test Stand” for use with a 3200lb Heavy Lift Drone is a completely feasible stand, it will have the strength to be able to grab and rescue the Drone from a crash, and that this Stand is easily created from currently available parts and materials.

I rendered an image of my Heavy Lift Drone design. This image shows the Drone as I imagine the Drone connected to the Support Rescue Test Stand and ready for further testing and flying optimization. I have added into my renderings some manikin drawings. These manikins are present to give a feeling of scale. These manikins have proportions very much like human proportions, and the manikins are 6 feet tall.

I thought I would render a set of images that show the Heavy Lift Drone on the support pedestal of the Stand with the images showing the extent of tilt that the Stand will allow the Drone before the Stand would kick in and “save” the Drone.

Currently the tilting limits imposed by the Stand on the Drone are:

Tilt Left or Right by 30 degrees, Tilt Forward or Backward by 20 degrees.

 I have connected the Drone to the Stand with Cardanic joints so that the Drone can be tilted in any combination of Left-Right tilt (anywhere between 0 and 30 degrees) and Forward-Backward tilt (anywhere between 0 and 20 degrees). One of the Cardanic joints cannot extend or retract and it serves as the main support column of the Drone. The other two Cardanic joints have their articulation between the Drone and the Stand via a hydraulic cylinder arrangement. This means if these hydraulic cylinders are allowed to freely alter the amount of their extension/retraction, then whatever tilting forces the Drone applies to these Cardanic joints will be accepted and the Drone can tilt anyway it wants, within the tilting limits discussed. However, at any time, if control valves are closed and the hydraulic cylinders no longer can freely extend/retract, then the effect is the Cardanic joints become “frozen”, and the Drone is halted and held in whatever tilt condition it had when the hydraulic cylinders were stopped from changing their extension/retraction.

This ability of the hydraulic cylinders to be frozen, causing the motion of the Drone to be frozen, is the mechanism by which the Test Support Rescue Stand can prevent the Drone from proceeding on to an event where the Drone is damaged. The Facilities Services group running the testing and evaluation of the Drone will monitor the tilt of the Drone and if limits are being reached, the Facilities Services personnel will shut down power to the Drone’s propellers while simultaneously also “freezing” the hydraulic cylinders of the Cardanic joints. Thus, everything about the current testing session stops and the Drone is frozen into a tilt condition, but the Drone will be frozen into a tilt condition that is not enough tilt that the Drone would be damaged.

I understand people may say, “Well, why are these tilt limits reasonable for optimizing the flying characteristics of the Heavy Lift Drone?”

It is my opinion that the truly difficult issues connected to the Heavy Lift Drone is optimization of the control algorithms so that the Drone can be placed into and kept in a stable hover. I include here that with respect to VTOL capabilities of the Drone: 1) Launch of the Drone is really nothing more than a stable hover except that vertical velocity is allowed to become positive, and 2) Landing of the Drone is really nothing more than transitioning the Drone from Fixed Wing flying into a stable hover, and then adding a controllable negative vertical velocity to the Drone to bring it properly down onto the landing area.

These considerations, to me, mean that the most important issues involved to proving that the Heavy Lift Drone is practical and possible include establishing robust and densely capable algorithms to create, control, and modulate the Drone in a stable hover. The truth of a stable hover is that it will never involve tilts for the Drone anywhere near 20 or 30 degrees. If the purpose of the Test Rescue Stand is to allow programmers to optimize and allow stable hover, they will not have a need for the Drone ever to have a tilt in the 20-30 degree range, thus I feel the tilting limits placed on the Drone are more than adequate for the specific purpose of allowing the programmers to find out what optimizations are needed to their flight control algorithms so that the Drone is in a controlled and stable hover.

I think it is clear, once the Drone is not in the Launch or Landing phase of its mission, it becomes simply a fixed wing flying airplane. Fixed wing flying airplanes have been around and optimized and developed by modern militaries for at least 100 years. I feel the Fixed Wing Flying portion of the development of a true and practical Heavy Lift Drone do not represent any big deal for the programmers to solve the flying issues.

I looked at my images from my rendering of my Heavy Lift Drone design and its protective safety Stand, and I thought the images were cool to look at just for their image value.

As I have said many times with my Heavy Lift Drone project, I want these Heavy Lift Drones to have dense and very capable autonomous flying algorithms so that the people using these Drones do not need to use up their time and attention readying the Drones for Flying, or Launch, or Flying to the Mission area, or Flying back, or Landing. The Drones will do all this, and the military soldiers can focus on deciding if they need or want the capabilities of the Drones for the situation and providing real time control of the Drones if the Drones are used to launch munitions against enemy forces or assets.

I plan to design a 50cal rifle for the Heavy Lift Drone to carry.  This rifle will fire a round that is a miniature of the RPG including an explosive load and a shaped charge ability to deliver a hyper-velocity slug. Since the bullet is 50cal, the explosive charge and hypervelocity slug will not be as large as is seen with an RPG, but I think it will be a useful round.

I plan the bullet to have a muzzle velocity of 4500fps instead of the standard 50cal muzzle velocity of 2500fps. All that is required to do this is enhancing the strength of the bolt, chamber, and barrel of the rifle. This will make this rifle way too heavy for a person to carry and use, but this rifle will be carried by the Heavy Lift Drone. Aiming and Firing will always remain under real-time control of U.S. troops on the ground. Firing rate for this Drone Rifle will be one round every 15 seconds. I want the Drone optimized to have sufficiently stable flying characteristics that troops on the ground controlling the 50cal really can aim it and fire it. I don’t want a machine gun approach where the Drone will go through all its ammunition in a few minutes. I am planning the Launch parameters for this “Gunship Version of the Heavy Lift Drone” will be that it launches with an initial load of 300 rounds.

I want the Drone to do its aimed firing from an altitude of 9000ft so that it is less likely that enemy forces can easily fire at and hit the Drone, at least with the weapons normally carried by a small contingent of enemy forces in a battle far away from main central command capabilities. With an action altitude for the Drone of 9000ft, the range for sighting the 50cal will be 10000-12000ft. The payload cargo space for this Heavy Lift Drone design is about 4ftx4ftx3ft. I think a visible light telescope about 6inches diam by 30inches long could be attached to the barrel of the 50cal. The scope could have a 160mb ccd integrated chip as the focal receptor. This should allow the Drone to use radio digital telemetry to transmit back to the aiming controller a targeting image with very good resolution. I think the payload volume is sufficient that it also could hold a radio transceiver with sufficient ability and bandwidth to transmit these real-time very high-quality targeting image streams back to the U.S soldier aiming controller who (in real time) is aiming and controlling and firing the 50cal.

As I look at my image of the Drone in its various tilt positions, I just wonder, if Commanders at small isolated distantly located outposts were asked “Would you like to have 3 or 4 of these Heavy Lift Drones, including the Gunship versions, under your command at your Outpost?”

It sure seems to me those Commanders would say, “Yes, I’ll take some of those, thank you very much.”

The images here for this article are small so they can be included in the article.

I found (for me) the images are much more fun to look at when they are at their full size, but they are in the 40-70mb png format size.

There are a lot of parts and systems in any drone. It seems reasonable that to understand a particular Drone, one would need to know how all that Drone’s parts and systems are designed to function. I feel it is reasonable to create a set of “Discussion Videos” where each Discussion Video is limited to discussing only one part or system of the Drone.

I thought I would let a few of the Heavy Lift Drones fly around outside Gunnison, Colorado. Here’s the image.

Heavy Lift Drones Outside Gunnison Colorado
Download (105mb png file) Heavy Lift Drones Flying outside Gunnison Colorado (55 downloads)

I created a Discussion Video that I named: Heavy Lift Drone – Power Management Part 01 znd Part 02

This video discusses how the Heavy Lift Drone can create the mechanical power that it needs to be able to fly up in the air. It also describes how this Drone will manage this power so that the Drone can keep itself properly flying along. I should mention that this Drone will not have a human being on board, but it will still need management to allow it to properly fulfill its mission and to properly control and adjust itself while it is flying. I address the mechanical issues associated with this in these Power Management Videos. These Videos are uploaded to my YouTube channel. The topic is complex enough that when I create a detailed discussion of these issues, well, the videos get long. So I have decided to split these videos into parts. This video is Part 01. There are lot of images that I refer to in the videos, so I have created a set of PDF files that have all the images from the videos in the PDF files. You can download these PDF files from the download links below. The videos that I created are based on a set of Slides. There are 9 slides so far. I have PDF files for 7 of them at present. I will create PDF files for the Slides 8 and 9 and I will upload them here when I get them created. Enjoy !

Download 44mb PDF file of the images in Slide 01 of the Heavy Lift Drone Power Management YouTube Video (32 downloads) Download 64mb PDF file of the images in Slide 02 of the Heavy Lift Drone Power Management YouTube Video (40 downloads) Download 36mb PDF file of the images in Slide 03 of the Heavy Lift Drone Power Management YouTube Video (56 downloads) Download 12mb PDF file of the images in Slide 04 of the Heavy Lift Drone Power Management YouTube Video (31 downloads) Download 11mb PDF file of the images in Slide 05 of the Heavy Lift Drone Power Management YouTube Video (24 downloads) Download 44mb PDF file of the images in Slide 06 of the Heavy Lift Drone Power Management YouTube Video (39 downloads) Download 5mb PDF file of the images in Slide 07 of the Heavy Lift Drone Power Management YouTube Video (18 downloads)

I created the Discussion Video that I named: Propeller.

This video describes the Propeller that is used for this Heavy Lift Drone and I have uploaded it to my YouTube channel.

Hey Fellas… Nice Props
Download 56mb PNG image: Manikins in the trees with Heavy Lift Drone Propellers (52 downloads) Download 8mb Sketchup Drawing File: Construction Sub-segment Details Heavy Lift Drone Propeller (48 downloads) Download 40mb FBX file no textures included: Shows Construction Sub-sections Heavy Lift Drone Propellerellers (50 downloads) Download 44mb KeyShot Package file used to create image: Manikins in Forest with Drone Propellers (54 downloads)

HEAVY LIFT DRONE – Introductory Remarks

It is interesting to me as one “wanders around” on the Internet there’s lots of images and stories about drones. But most of the time, those drones are not very big. That intrigues me.

I guess its possible that BIG Drones aren’t discussed much because they are going to be expensive. Most of the general population will not be able to purchase big drones. That is a great reason why they aren’t discussed or shown much on the Internet.

I just wonder, however, could it be that big drones aren’t on the Internet that much because it has not been fully worked out how to make them?

It seems that big problems with big drones include:

1) aerodynamically – just how does one get that big drone so that it can get its own (large) weight into the air via purely vertical flight?

2) aerodynamically – how does one address that, in addition to 1) above, the drone will also be lifting and carrying a large payload?

3) thermodynamics – providing one figures out how to get all that weight up into the air, just what kind of power source will allow this big, heavy drone to make its vertical ascent and then fly around for a usefully large time interval?

I decided to create a set of designs about a big drone.

I decided to give my design the name: Heavy Lift Drone.

It is reasonable that a Heavy Lift Drone could be used in a United States military setting and, if the drone could lift enough payload weight and if it could stay aloft for long enough intervals, then this Heavy Lift Drone clearly could help to decrease injuries to U. S. service personnel.

Earlier, I went to the end of this Heavy Lift Drone issue and wrote a story about a set of Heavy Lift Drones and how they could help U.S. Service personnel. At that time, I just wanted to explore some ways that Heavy Lift Drones could have a useful military purpose. That story was more focused on how the Heavy Lift Drones could be helpful and I didn’t include much concerning specifics on how such Heavy Lift Drones could be fabricated so that they really could provide the capabilities discussed in the story. Here’s the webpage where I sent this story, I named the Heavy Lift Drones – The Four Superheroes.

The Flying Machine – The Four Superheroes

I think I now have a design for a Heavy Lift Drone that might really work from a math, science, aerodynamics, structural, thermodynamics set of viewpoints.

I think I will discuss the design by breaking it down into subsections. I plan to use Camtasia to discuss these subsections, then make YouTube videos and send them one by one as I make them up to my YouTube channel. The name of my YouTube channel is: Patrick Gray.

Here’s a listing of some of the subsections that I plan to create videos for:

  1. Introduction
  2. Propeller
  3. Power – Creation, Transmission, Modulation
  4. Landing Gear
  5. Structural Considerations
  6. ? Add-ons, including potential weapons
  7. Fixed Wing Flying
  8. Integration into Military Activities
  9. I am considering to create some fictional stories about the Heavy Lift Drone just to show how I understand that Heavy Lift Drones could be useful to the military.

So far, I have created two YouTube videos, they are Introductory Videos. I’m thinking I will add the DISCLAIMER video sequence to the front of each of my YouTube videos about the Heavy Lift Drone, and I will add the Very Brief Introduction sequence to the end of each YouTube video. It seems to me this will make it so that any of the various Heavy Lift Drone YouTube videos could stand by itself and keep people from getting confused if they just “stumbled across” one of the YouTube videos and they were wondering, “Well… what is this all about?”