Meet the Pulsar 4E

As I’ve mentioned a bunch of times on this blog and to anyone I came into contact with over the last 12 months: I’m building a rather large glider to compete in the Outback Challenge.  I recently finished collecting and assembling parts and am keen to see it get off the ground when all the stars align.  You’ll notice that it’s big… really big. And no;  I’m not short :P

The Pulsar range of gliders should be familiar to most RC enthusiasts.  They are typically a slow, light weight and very well built aircraft featuring enough carbon fiber to make most cyclist jealous.  It is not a scale model, so it doesn’t look like a traditional manned glider.  Instead it has been designed from scratch to be a very efficient radio controlled aircraft.

The Pulsar 4E is the largest of the Pulsar series with a wingspan of 4 meters.  The one I have assembled weighs 2280 grams without a payload, which is expected to be a little over 500 grams of water and bottle.  I have fitted a modest 550 Watt Neu motor to the front which I expect will be just enough power to maintain cruise speed while climbing vertically.

So far, we’ve taken the Pulsar to the airfield twice in attempts to fly it.  Unfortunately we’ve been foiled by gusty winds and some really buggy firmware for my transmitter.  At least it hasn’t been destroyed yet.

I’ll save my rant about Spektrum’s latest DX8 firmware (2.04) being a terrible example of embedded software and something I consider quite dangerous, as it is sometimes in control of very large and fast aircraft.  I’ve downgraded to version 2.01 which I will use cautiously for the time being.

I still have to add the avionics I’ve been working on.  I had some plastic mounts printed that served as both the dropping mechanism for the payload as well as holding the electronics in place.  Unfortunately some of the dimensions were a bit off and it failed at both of those things.  I have some more coming in a couple of weeks and will hopefully have written enough code to make that worthwhile by then.

So while I wasn’t flying anything today, I took the time to make this view of airfield (3MB).  Enjoy!

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