Brushless R/C Rocket Tests Different Flight Regimes

Quadcopters are familiar, and remote control planes are old hat at this point. However, compact lightweight power systems and electronic flight controllers continue to make new flying vehicles possible. In that vein, [rctestflight] has been experimenting with a brushless electric rocket craft, with interesting results. (Youtube, embedded below.)

The build uses a single large brushless motor in the tail for primary thrust. Four movable vanes provide thrust vectoring capability. To supplement this control a quadcopter was gutted, and its motors rearranged in the nose of the craft to create a secondary set of thrusters which aid stabilization and maneuverability.

The aim is to experiment with a flight regime consisting of vertical takeoff followed by coasting horizontally before returning to a vertical orientation for landing. Preliminary results have been positive, though it was noted that the body of the aircraft is significantly reducing the available thrust from the motors.

It’s a creative design which recalls the SpaceX vertical landing rockets of recent times. We’re excited to see where this project leads, and as we’ve seen before – brushless power can make just about anything fly. Even chocolate. Video after the break.

29 thoughts on “Brushless R/C Rocket Tests Different Flight Regimes

      1. Well, it still qualifies as a ‘missile’. But maybe ‘torpedo’ is more accurate. Nope – ‘torpedo’ seems to just be an underwater ‘missile’, so I’ll stick with ‘missile’.

  1. I get it, but I don’t get it.

    >>The aim is to experiment with a flight regime consisting of vertical takeoff followed by coasting horizontally before returning to a vertical orientation for landing.

    This seems like a waste of energy to me and a generous use of the term ‘flight regime’. A rephrasing of the ‘experiment’ could easily be:
    “Can I put enough thrust behind an arbitrary frame to make it ‘fly’ in any orientation”
    The answer here, at least at small scale, is a resounding ‘yes’. That could have been done in excel or on a cocktail napkin with tower hobbies or hobby king pulled up on your phone.
    It’s well known that aerodynamics don’t scale and hobby models can achieve vastly higher thrust to weight ratios than more practical builds.
    If you want to design balancing algorithms or fan ducting that’s a different story. “Can I strap enough propellers to this to make it fly” isn’t an interesting question unless it’s a sci-fi/nostalgia design. Everyone likes to see a Star Destroyer or Battlestar fly but that’s not really an experiment so much as shoe horning fantasy into reality as close as you can.

  2. I think he’s missing the point of grid fins. When a rocket is flying backward (i.e., flying downward while maintaining its engine-down attitude), it needs the center of pressure to move up above the center of gravity. Grid fins take care of this, providing PASSIVE stability while flying backward, making the active controls easier to use. Without some kind of deployable fins at the top of the missile, the stability has to be handled actively.

  3. Hovercraft, VTOL, or GEM but not that other thing. Getting large inverted pendulum to stay stable with single fixed propeller and control surfaces deserves props. Pun intended. Outdoors and with what appears to be cheap SG90 servos thats remarkable tweaking.
    If wanted to do minor remodeling with cheap LED effects and possibly a single retractable antenna could be a hit at the next Star Trek/Scifi convention. Of course should be able to say “sterilize”, ”non sequitur”, and may have to write NOMAD on the side of it.

  4. I don’t get all the negativity in the comments. Guess it’s what some people do for fun, instead of actually making stuff… You don’t need a PHD or be precise or accurate, to hack something, build, or be creative. Some people spend their time studying other peoples work, other people just dive right in, and try out ideas. Learning comes in many forms. Trial and error is the long road, but there are usually more learned on the journey. We all tend to use words we are familiar with, to describe what we see or do, and pick which words most closely convey the thought. The word ‘rocket’ might not be technically or politically correct, but it does describe the form and function of the project. A quadrocopter isn’t a drone, but drone is the commonly used term for unmanned RC vehicle these days.

    Anyway, it’s something different, and seems to work, to some extent, and worth pursuing. Who knows where this project will go, maybe just a toy, maybe something more with refinements. It’s still pretty cool to see an idea go from a dream to a functional model, whether or not it becomes a practical commercial product, or a Nobel Prize worthy discovery.

  5. i kept watching as he seems to have zero fear grabbing the drone within a few inches of a sharp plastic blade spinning at over 10,000rpm… i won’t even go near my heli’s until the main rotor stops and the cutout switch is on…

  6. o Lose the nose cone.
    o Go to single surface shell for reduced weight.
    o Some landing feet with some stability, or
    a landing net supporting on bottom and a half cylinder net for side support.

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