The First Quad-Copter Drone to Fly Across The English Channel

Team Ocuair, led by Richard Gill, have built a series of endurance drones capable of flying previously unachievable distances in a single flight. To prove the technology they have decided to be the first people in history to fly a quadcopter across the English Channel. The Ebduro Quadcopter will be piloted by Richard Gill who will be in a boat following the flight while manning control of the aircraft. The flight has received full permission of both the UK CAA and French NAA and will be conducted in accordance will the relevant rules associated with commercial UAV operations. These images are of the quadcopters during their build and testing phases, they include some mishaps along the way. To find out more about the attempt please contact [email protected] or call 0800 783 3008. The images were taken by Richard Gill

Team Ocuair, led by Richard Gill, have built a series of endurance drones capable of flying previously unachievable distances in a single flight.  To prove the technology they have decided to be the first people in history to fly a quadcopter across the English Channel.  The Ebduro Quadcopter will be piloted by Richard Gill who will be in a boat following the flight while manning control of the aircraft.  The flight has received full permission of both the UK CAA and French NAA and will be conducted in accordance will the relevant rules associated with commercial UAV operations. These images are of the quadcopters during their build and testing phases, they include some mishaps along the way. To find out more about the attempt please contact richard.gill@ocuair.com or call 0800 783 3008. The images were taken by Richard Gill

A UK Team of drone experts are attempting to be the first people in history to fly a drone across the English Channel – a single flight of 34km!  This is also the longest single flight of a quad-copter in the World!

Joining the ranks of Jean-Pierre Blanchard, John Jeffries, Louis Bleriot and Harriet Quimby the Team, led by Richard Gill, will break a famous aviation milestone if they are successful.

A quick Internet search shows that not much has been done in quad-copter distance flying so the Team, from a UK commercial UAV operator Ocuair, aims to set a new standard in endurance and distance flying. This in itself produces a complex challenge.

This record attempt seeks to establish a number of world firsts in a commercially relevant way. Companies like Amazon with their Prime Air service and Google are already experimenting with long-range drones to deliver parcels. If successful, Richard and his team will push the boundary of what was previously thought possible on a commercially viable platform.

The flight, scheduled to take place in mid February 2016 will see Richard and his Team fly the quad-copter from a secured beach near Wissant in Northern France. He will then fly the aircraft manually towards Dover. The flight is scheduled to take about 69 minutes and cover 34 kilometers meaning the drone will have to maintain a speed of eight meters per second throughout. Richard will follow the aircraft in a boat to make sure that he is within 500 meters of it at all times. A beach has been secured in Dover to make the landing and once on dry-land the celebrations can begin.

Given that Richard will be operating on the very edge of what is practically possible for a quad-copter the weather conditions are critical. Any type of adverse wind will have a severe impact on the drone meaning it might not make the distance. And given that they will be flying over water there are no second chances or emergency landings!

Richard said:

We have used the very best components available to build both aircraft so I am confident that we will succeed. During the flight-testing I have flow both drones for over 90 minutes over 39 kilometers so there should be plenty left in the tank if needed.”

When asked why he was making the attempt he said:

Small, unmanned aerial vehicles are the next horizon in aviation so I wanted to see if I could do something to push the technology in a meaningful way. The UK leads the world in terms of legislation, I thought it would be good to see us lead the world in commercial UAV applications too.”

Full approval from both the UK CAA and French DGCA for the crossing has been granted and the Team will be operating within the standard rules for commercial UAV operations in the UK.

Ocuair Ltd was established by two former British Army Officers who saw the burgeoning potential in the commercial sector of the UAV technology they saw used in while they were serving in the Army.

Richard Gill (35), came up with the concept to be the first person to fly a multi-rotor drone across the English Channel in late Summer 15.  Along with his business partners Steve Carrington and Mike Edwards, he embarked on a project to design and build a drone capable of making this crossing and achieving the record for the furthest single flight of a multi-rotor in history along with the fastest transit across the English Channel. 

Richard was responsible for delivering a capable drone, Steve sought the permissions from the authorities and Mike was responsible for the logistics.  After some early mishaps in flight-testing and some expensive crashes Richard finally settled on a design and has built two identical drones capable of making the flight.

It took much longer than expected to achieve the permissions from the French Authorities who gave their final approval for the flight just before Christmas 2015.  

Richard and his team fly a drone across the Channel and then follow it in a control and film boat.  The crossing is anticipated to take 69 minutes at about 8m/s.  The total flight will be around 34km (this will depend on the tide).  Richard aims to set off from France and fly back to Dover, land the drone on a beach and then record the position with GPS.  The Royal Aeronautical Society Records Officer, Simon Vaitkevicius, will ratify the attempt.

A full specification of both Enduro Drone can be found below.

Ocuair’s RPAS

Enduro 1 Specification

Manufacturer

Ocuair

Model

Enduro

Type

Quadcopter – Multi Rotor

Rotor Span (mm)

1760

Overall Diameter (mm)

1180

Length (mm)

870

Command Frequency

2.4 GHz

Number of Motors

4

Motor Type

Brushless electric

86.8 x 26.5 mm

135kv

Battery Type

2 x 6S 22000mAh 22.2V

Propeller Dimensions

27 x 8.2 inch

MTOM

8.2kg

Operational Ceiling

5000 ft AGL

Operational Endurance

95 mins

Max airspeed

35 kts

Temp range

-5 to +50C

Max wind speed

10 kts

Flight Controller

DJI Naza M V2 Autopilot

Aircraft Receiver

Jeti REX 12 – RSAT Duplex System

Ground Controller

Jeti DC-16

Ground Station Controller

DJI Data Link

Ground Station

Panasonic Toughbook CF19

http://www.ocuair.com