- by Rick Wilson
The Yeair! Gas Powered Drone: Horrible Name, Promising Future
RTF Quadcopters are great. You can order them online, throw it together, and in a few minutes, you’re flying. But most RTF quads can only carry a few hundred grams. Also they can’t fly very fast or for very long. The Yeair quadcopter does the opposite. 11 pound payload capacity, 60 mph top speed, and an hour of airtime. All for $1500. Clearly those specifications are bonkers. For about the same price, the Phantom 3 can only carry a few hundred grams at 35 mph for roughly 23 minutes. How can the yeair out perform DJI so easily? The answer is quite simple. Internal Combustion. The Yeair is a gas powered quadcopter. It comes with a half a gallon fuel tank, in which oil is mixed in at a 25:1 gas ratio. The fuel powers four 2.15 horsepower engines, giving the quad a total of 8.6 horsepowers and a max range of 34 miles. It seems that these engines then power electronically controlled hubshafts which power the 13” by 8” propellers. This allows the quad to continue flying even in the event of engine failure. The ability to quickly refuel is tremendous for a quadcopter. Not having to shell out for expensive batteries with low flight times or wait hours on end to charge really makes a difference. Gas powered RC’s aren't anything new, but adding gas power plants into the common all electric quadcopter design is something that could provide extremely useful. The Yeair has significant industrial applications. It’s payload, speed, and flight time, could allow for long distance delivery or rescue. Imagine the Coast Guard automatically sending out life preservers and safety equipment to vessels in destress. Businesses could transport small packages and goods miles away without having to stop and recharge. Imagine shooting a 60 minute timelapse from the air. The Yeair team is scheduled to delivery in the spring of next year. I’d expect that this project will get delayed as most complex kickstarters will do but if the team is successful, they can give battery driven quads a run for their money. The project is already funded with over $82k with 50 days left.