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Aircraft floats for the DJI Inspire

Who is interested in buying/installing floats on a UAV

  • Yes, I am interested in buying floats for my UAV so that I can land on water

    Votes: 32 68.1%
  • No, I am not interested

    Votes: 15 31.9%

  • Total voters
    47
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Aircraft Floats Manufacturing (AFM) was approached by a DJI Inspire 1 owner/operator for the designing and manufacturing of floats. Please see http://www.full-lotus.com

The Full Lotus floats are extremely unique in that they are inflatable. Using similar technology for designing a set of floats for the UAV market is possible.

However, before spending time and resources, I would like to get a feeling on how many present DJI Inspire 1 owner/operators would be interested in buying floats. Cost estimate is about $800.00 and hopefully less.

Advantage of adding floats to a UAV. Land on water, and the floats will add extra shock absorption when landing on hard surfaces.

Also, is there a DJI Inspire 1 owner/operator in the Toronto area willing to test the floats once built by AFM?

Cheers
Matt
[email protected]
 

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I was the guy who contacted Matt.

Some basic requirements I would think would be:

- aerodynamic - forward flight should minimize drag. Your current aircraft pontoon designs might work well if scaled down

- light weight - this may be the most challenging part. the Inspire has about 300g at stock config to reach the "recommended" takeoff weight. However, the motors (there are 4 rotors) have a max thrust of about 2kg each. If the whole solution were to weigh in at < 1kg I think it be ok but flight times would decrease the more weight is added. 500-1000g would be better if possible.

- easy but secure attachment / detachment - most pilots prefer to fly stock but for those times when flying over water is needed, the pontoons would be a highly desirable addition, provided they installed securely in a few minutes and could detach as easily. If a super lightweight set of permanent mounts/brackets needed to be permanently installed to make easy on/off work, that'd probably be ok too.

- buoyancy - the aircraft must be stable enough in water not to capsize in small waves and be able to takeoff and land on water vertically (standard takeoff / landing for multirotor UAV's)

- cost - this will obviously depend on materials and R&D you put into it, but the Inspire is a $2,800 U.S. aircraft and with dual operator remotes, iPads, batteries, cases, etc, it's not uncommon for owners to invest upwards of $5-6k U.S. But they are sticklers for quality in general. In other words, for the right optimized solution, it should be profitable for you guys.

- materials - lightweight obviously. One model pontoon maker actually came up with a vinyl inflatable set of pontoons but they don't fit the Inspire, they leak and are very poorly crafted. Not sure what the right answer is here but inflatable would make for easy transport for sure, and would probably satisfy the weight requirement above quite easily.

Others?
 
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Aircraft Floats Manufacturing (AFM) was approached by a DJI Inspire 1 owner/operator for the designing and manufacturing of floats. Please see http://www.full-lotus.com

The Full Lotus floats are extremely unique in that they are inflatable. Using similar technology for designing a set of floats for the UAV market is possible.

However, before spending time and resources, I would like to get a feeling on how many present DJI Inspire 1 owner/operators would be interested in buying floats. Cost estimate is about $800.00 and hopefully less.

Advantage of adding floats to a UAV. Land on water, and the floats will add extra shock absorption when landing on hard surfaces.

Also, is there a DJI Inspire 1 owner/operator in the Toronto area willing to test the floats once built by AFM?

Cheers
Matt
[email protected]
Produce and host a fishing show based in the GTA, Matt. Would be very interested in testing floats as 75 percent of our Inspire 1 footage is over or in close proximity to water. Let me know!
 
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Produce and host a fishing show based in the GTA, Matt. Would be very interested in testing floats as 75 percent of our Inspire 1 footage is over or in close proximity to water. Let me know!
Hi Alan,
Sounds like you could be a good fit for testing the floats. Do you ever make it up to the Midland ON area?
Matt
 
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Hi Alan,
Sounds like you could be a good fit for testing the floats. Do you ever make it up to the Midland ON area?
Matt
Hi Matt,

Only a short drive from home. Pass it on the way to Algonquin, North Bay, Temagami and a bunch of other show destinations. Gladly make myself available to help with this.

Alan
 
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Someone posted this on FB. Doesn't look aerodynamic or very stable but fyi

I think the solution is probably pretty cheap.
Pipe insulation which is filled with foam and then secured with plastic ties.

But the question is how long it is capable of being in the lake, before the material starts to attract water.
 
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I think the solution is probably pretty cheap.
Pipe insulation which is filled with foam and then secured with plastic ties.

But the question is how long it is capable of being in the lake, before the material starts to attract water.
I don't think most Inspire owners want to trust their investment on homemade foam / insulation that may sink at any moment :)

I think Matt's company who produces floats for full sized aircraft would have the experience to build a solid, stable reliable solution. It is $3,000 after all. I lost one UAV at sea.

I for one am interested as I'm sure many others would be who fly near or over water in a commercial solution that met the requirements above.
 
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Foam, homemade or otherwise, doesn't sink. IF -- and that's a big IF -- some manufacturer wanted to produce flotation for the Inspire, I would think a sealed foam device that also addressed the real possibility of capsizing (as mentioned above) would be far more economical and practical, but that would require it being awfully wide (so much for aerodynamics). Regardless, it wouldn't change my "no" vote.

Honestly, I can't think of a legitimate reason to land on water, other than the "cool" factor.

Now, if someone wanted to make an emergency floatation device...

 
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Foam, homemade or otherwise, doesn't sink. IF -- and that's a big IF -- some manufacturer wanted to produce flotation for the Inspire, I would think a sealed foam device that also addressed the real possibility of capsizing (as mentioned above) would be far more economical and practical, but that would require it being awfully wide (so much for aerodynamics). Regardless, it wouldn't change my "no" vote.

Honestly, I can't think of a legitimate reason to land on water, other than the "cool" factor.

Now, if someone wanted to make an emergency floatation device...


A self-inflatable thing, like an inflatable life vest, would be good. :)
Which only inflates when you need it .. or when you press a button.
 
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You guys realize full scale helicopters have pontoons/floats and land on water all the time right?
 
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You realize full scale helicopters land on water for a purpose, right?

You also realize full scale helicopters are not powered by batteries alone with electronic cameras an inch and half above the water, right?
You are right just the prop running are making the water splash all over . The float idea would be for emergency only ,but not to be used for frequent take off and landing of the water; specially salt water.
I do inovations ,and I have a proposal for floats for Phantom I never get to it (I should try to redesign it for inspire;the weight would count in grams) .
 

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