How high does your Quad fly? Can I really build it? Questions from STEM fairs
MobileArq academy has exhibited its ‘Build a Quad’ and “Build an App’ courses at several different STEM Fairs this spring. Some of these venues include the NYC Science Fair her at the Armory, Dalton School bit-by-bit fair and NYSC STEM Expo.
The ‘built from scratch’ quadcopters that we display at the MobileArq booth, stimulate a number of questions from interested students. We have listed the ‘top five’ most frequently asked questions below and our answers.
1. How high does the Quad fly?
How high a quadcopter flies is determined by the battery power and rotors. Generally, a quadcopter can fly up to several thousand feet up in the air. The current rules within the US limit the height to line of sight, about 600 to 800 feet. This is a good rule of thumb to follow.
2. How long will the Quad fly?
You don’t need to build the largest quadcopter to increase your flight time.
The flight time depends upon battery life, throttle level (amount of power provided to the rotors) and wind condition. On the other hand, hover time, or staying in a single location in the air, is relatively a constant value for a given Quadcopter.
Motors and propellers are at their lowest efficiency at maximum throttle, and higher efficiency at lower throttle. So, flying around fast, doing acrobatics etc, will use more power thus shorter flight time. If you want to increase your flight time, the best thing to do is to fly gently, i.e., resist maximum throttle, and avoid unnecessary turns. If you can optimize these conditions, then you can remain in flight for 15 to 20 mins.
3. Did you build it from scratch?
Yes, the Quadcopters that we build and teach in our ‘’Build a Quad’ class are built from ‘scratch’. Based on our own experience, we believe that building your Quad from scratch is a great entry point for understanding and working with robotics.
Building a quad by yourself gives you the know-how to easily diagnose and fix any mechanical or electrical problems with your quadcopter. You are in complete control over the quadcopter that you will build in the course.
4. How much does it cost to build the quadcopter?
We have been building and flying multi-copters, tricopters and quadcopters for the last four years. The quadcopter that you will be building in the class is a result of our previous builds and iterations. Every component and assembly technique was optimized to produce the best possible Quadcopter.
The cost of the component parts total over $700 or nearly of the cost of the 2-week long summer course offered by MobileArq Academy. The Quad and the understanding of drone technology that you build and develop in this course will stay and grow with you.
5. Can I really build it?
We have designed and developed the ‘Build a Quad’ course so that any student interested in quadcopters can build one. We have segmented the process to make the build understandable and doable. Additional skills required are also taught prior to the final assembly of the quadcopter. These include hands-on workshops on soldering, electronics and managing firmware.
Students spend two-thirds of the course or first six to seven classes building the quadcopter. Flying the Quadcopter is a learned skill that requires time, patience and good instructions. The final third of the class is dedicated to teaching students how to fly the quadcopter that they have built.