Here’s a quick concept layout of Hummingbird. It’s inspired by David Wyatt’s Kestrel design, but uses a gimballed rocket motor instead of cold gas thrusters. (if you’re wondering what that’s about, there’ll be more about different attitude control systems in a later blog post!)
It’ll be a very modular vehicle, so it’s easy to swap out parts for improved parts once it’s been test-flown a few times and we’ve spotted things that need improving (or, erm, after we’ve broken things and need to replace them…). Features you can see above include:
- A platform to make batteries and the flight computer easily accessible and swappable.
- Landing legs made of carbon fibre kite spars. Not shown is some sort of shock absorber – this is definitely needed, becase a solid-fuelled motor can’t be throttled, so we’ll always land with a bit of residual vertical speed. (If you’re really on the ball you’ll have spotted that even with a single motor it’s possible to set the thrust-to-weight ratio slightly above 1 and then move towards the ground by “tacking” or “fluttering” from side to side… but that’s a bit of a complicated flight profile for the first batch of flights!)
- A roll cage, just in case Hummingbird lands on its head.
- The red cylinder in the middle is a Klima D3-P motor. For scale, it’s 70mm long.
- The grey boxes are placeholders for small servos as used in RC models, something like this: