OK privacy fans, now I have the facts. I just learned this morning
that my neighbor is into small electric airplanes when I saw him
out flying one. I learned that there are kits available commercially
to build these for about US$300, which includes the radios, servos,
battery packs and motors. This particular model is 175 grams, of
which 51 grams are high performance NiCd batteries. If you dont
need half an hour endurance, lighter batteries can be carried.
This one was not all that small: the wing is a 40 cm diameter ring
of kevlar with a single layer of mylar stretched across it, then
smaller loops for the horizontal stabilizer. This particular model
is actually an indoor plane, but can be flown outdoors on very
still days. Top speed is around 12-15 kph, so it is easy to stay
under it at a good trotting pace.
My neighbor says there are camera kits available with mass
around 15 grams for a couple K$. The noise is noticable
but not annoying: a high pitched whirrrrr. With this model
you can lose an additional about ~8 grams by removing the
landing gear, making it a hand launch and use a breakaway
propeller for landings.
So, now we know what would be involved with current
tech if someone wanted to invade the privacy of our back
yards: ~2300 bucks.
For those in the CA Bay area, I understand they have
a club that meets and flies in that big hangar out at
Moffett Field the third Saturday of every month. Ill
check it out next weekend and report back. spike
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