I am looking for a complete system that allows one

to program flight with a computer, under $ 1000.

I want to do forest research.




  1. Agri Technics Projects

    Hello Flight Riot,

    Thanks for the very interesting pictures. I do have a question i.e. :

    Can a similar camera be used to install in front of a tractor, facing down while sending the information to my Ipad ?


    Gert R.J. Smit

  2. adammaina

    Hello Flight Riot,

    I have just discovered this forum today while Googling for an aerial drone system that we can use for our surveying and mapping operations. I am therefore very new to all this and would like to learn all that I can with regard to available turn key systems and costs. I have seen the ones advertised by mainstream organizations like Trimble and recently Topcon.

    I have noted that most of the fixed wing drones do belly landing which can easily damage the fuselage and the camera system. Why are there no mapping drones with landing gear?

    Kindly recommend the best system and related cost.

    I recently noticed some pilots who meet in an open field and compete with their RC crafts. I even noticed some which were wooden with landing gear and appeared like they could manage substantial payload. Are there such for aerial survey?

    Best regards to you all and kudos for this great forum.

    Adam Maina

    • geobduffy

      Hi Adam,
      There are a lot of systems out there with and without landing gear. The larger and heavier the UAV system, the more area you need, the faster it will travel to stay in the air and the more dangerous it is. If you have no RC experience, I’d recommend buying an RC trainer and learning the basics. Check out diydrones and read up on the autopilot system, etc. You can ease your way into it and scale up later. If you want to jump right into a platform that is relatively docile and can carry a payload, the Skywalker and Penguin are great aircraft. the Penguin has recessed landing gear and landing gear can be added to the skywalker if you so desire. You can protect the lens by recessing the camera and adding some skids. this protects the lens and doesn’t add as much drag as full landing gear. Good luck!

  3. geobduffy

    Hi AK,
    This might be possible but you’ll have to cut a lot of corners. You’ll have to base it on an arduflyer 2.5 autopilot instead of APM 2.6. That will save a lot of money if you are able to solder. You can pick very inexpensive components and get a cheap camera.
    I’m thinking we should have a flight riot competition to build the cheapest mapping UAV…
    I’ll have to figure out some rules and guidelines so it’s not dangerous. Cheap and drone are not words to use together without a great deal of caution.

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